Sinn Féin TD for Clare Violet-Anne Wynne has condemned the underwhelming number of additional intensive-care/high-dependency unit beds added to capacity at University Hospital Limerick this year to date.
Details provided to Teachta Martin Browne via a parliamentary question seeking the numbers of ICU/HDU beds added during 2021 have exposed that a marginal amount of beds have come on stream this year.
Teachta Wynne said:
“UHL has been the most over-crowded hospital in the state for over 5 weeks now.
“The British Medical Journal published a research article on the 14th December stating that over 4,500 deaths were caused by over-crowding in British hospitals in 2020 and people being forced to wait unnecessarily long in A&E departments.
“Here in Ireland, having to waiting for 24 or 48 hours on a trolley in a corridor has become normalised – we’ve stopped expecting more.
“But the fact is that this is not normal, and it is not good enough.
“It has been revealed that only 6 additional ICU/HDU beds were made available in 2021. Even though we are in the middle of a pandemic.
“Even though we know over-crowding is an issue in UHL year in year out. Even though UHL is the only level 3 hospital supporting such high volumes of people – servicing roughly 400,000 people.
“I am extremely frustrated to learn that so few additional beds were made available this year.
“The Government keep putting the burden on people to stay safe, follow public health guidelines but why have they not improved the structural responses to dealing with the risks this virus poses.
“Tá sé in am don Athrú.”