Sinn Féin TD for Limerick, Maurice Quinlivan, has slammed the government’s failure to get a grip of the trolley crisis at University Hospital Limerick following confirmation that 109 people were treated on trolleys today and that latest figures show that 1,044 people have been treated on trolleys so far this month.
Teachta Quinlivan said:
“So far this year 2,224 people have been treated on trolleys at UHL, and the daily figure tipped above 100 today for the first time this year.
“The issues at UHL have been getting worse for years, are persistent, and show no sign of improving. Staff are reaching their limit. There is only so much our medical professionals can do when they are continually having to treat patients in conditions that are completely appropriate.
“The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar visited the hospital on Friday and met with hospital campaigners. I have no doubt that they relayed to him their serious concerns regarding overcrowding, capacity and staffing.
“More clarity is needed from the Taoiseach as to what his proposed solutions are to this crisis, assuming he has any. One thing is certain; these current conditions cannot be allowed to continue. This government has allowed this crisis in our health service and at our local hospital to drift for too long.
“Fine Gael has been in government for 12 years and the time has long passed for this crisis to be solved.
“Last year’s HIQA inspection report and the Deloitte report proved what we all knew already that the hospital has a litany of issues that need to be addressed. The most immediate need is for increased capacity.
“The promised 96-bed unit is still over 12 months away from being completed and, when it is, it will in reality offer only 48 additional beds, assuming the required staff are recruited. The proposed other two 96-bed units must be expedited.
“The UHL Emergency Department does not have the capacity to cater for all presentations and this has a knock-on effect across the hospital. Elective surgeries are cancelled, and the hospital operates in a state of constant crisis.
“A recent open letter from consultants at the hospital outlined that the daily capacity at the A&E is being exceeded on a daily basis with an average of 240 daily presentations.
“There are some huge problems at the hospital but these are not insurmountable if the political will is there.
“As well as the need for increased capacity, there is also a need for an increase in the recruitment and retention of staff.
“The current set-up, structures and practices at UHL are not fit for purpose. Hospital management has been failing patients, their families, and staff for far too long.
“We need fundamental change, and this can only come from an immediate government intervention. No other hospital in the state has been abandoned to the extent UHL has been for years.”