Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has accused the Government of being “out-of-touch” with the ongoing crisis of patient overcrowding and delays in the Emergency Department of University Hospital Limerick.
Senator Gavan said:
“UHL has again topped the list of hospitals with patients on trolleys – with 86 patients on trolleys on 24th October. Where will the trolley numbers be by December?
“A letter from a doctor at UHL, as highlighted by the Irish Independent, explains how on one night, 20 patients had been at the hospital for 16 hours without having blood taken, any monitoring of their vital signs, or being given essential medications or fluids.
“The doctor described staff as the hospital as ‘grossly overwhelmed’ and stated that they were using ‘extremely dangerous practices’.
“Many people are afraid of having to go the emergency department of UHL in the current circumstances.
“Staff shortages have also led to the closure of one of the wards in the maternity hospital.”
In response, Seanad Deputy Leader Lisa Chambers blamed ‘other parties’ for ‘creating an expectation that UHL is fixable overnight’.
Reacting to this statement Senator Gavan said:
“I found this response to be staggering. I pointed out that Senator Chambers party had been effectively in government for 6 years, while Fine Gael has had 12 years to tackle the crisis in UHL.
“Declaring the crisis cannot be fixed overnight implies a complete lack of awareness of just how long this crisis has been going on and the abject failure of successive governments to deal with it.
“That statement from a UHL doctor is the clearest evidence yet that our hospital remains in deep crisis.
“The INMO have also made a direct appeal to government to do everything in their power to retain staff who are currently overwhelmed by their workload.
“In the context of ever worsening figures year on year for patients on trolleys, a bland declaration that these issues can’t be resolved overnight shows out of touch this government is with regard to the long running crisis of patient overcrowding in UHL.”