February 28, 2023
February trolley numbers at UHL highest on record – Maurice Quinlivan TD

Limerick Sinn Féin TD, Maurice Quinlivan, has called for the government to take immediate steps to address the ongoing crisis in University Hospital Limerick where figures for February have exceeded 1,500 people treated on trolleys.

Teachta Quinlivan:

“Today UHL hit the terrible milestone of 1,561 treated on trolleys for February. For anyone to be treated on a trolley in a hospital hallway is simply not good enough, so for 1,561 to be treated on trolleys in one month is a disaster. 

“I have called on the government to expedite the construction of the new 96-bed unit and for this to be quickly followed by two other similar units that have been committed to. These constructions must happen as a priority.

“The January 2023 figures were much lower than last year, and this was because the management of UHL declared a major internal incident. This shows that these figures can be controlled for the betterment of patient care and the staff working environment. 

“Unfortunately, once that incident was declared over, the figures have increased dramatically to where we now have more people on trolleys in February 2023 than we did for the same month last year. This is an utter failure of a government, which has been in office for more than 12 years.

“The issues at UHL are persistent and show very little sign of improving. The patients and staff at UHL are suffering as a result. There is only so much our medical professionals can do when they are continually having to treat patients in conditions that are not appropriate.

“It is important to remember that these 1,561 are people. They have the worries that any of us have visiting a hospital and those worries are compounded by being treated on a trolley in a hallway without the dignity of privacy.

“The trolley numbers do not just impact those who are on them, they impact the nurses and medical professionals who have to treat them, and it has a knock-on effect on the ability of the hospital to meet its outpatient appointments, many of which are regularly cancelled. 

“These current conditions cannot be allowed to continue. This government has allowed this crisis in our health service and at UHL to drift for too long. 

“There is an immediate need to increase capacity at the hospital and to ensure that medical professionals at the hospital can be retained and attracted. We remain significantly short of the number of non-consultant hospital doctors needed to ensure the smooth running of a busy hospital. The UHL Emergency Department does not have the capacity to cater for all presentations.

“There are some huge problems at the hospital, but these can be addressed. This crisis is not something new that has suddenly come upon us, it has been with us for years now. 

“We need, and the patients and staff deserve, change, and this can only come from an immediate government intervention.”

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