June 17, 2022
Staffing and bed deficits at University Hospital Limerick a major risk to patient safety – David Cullinane and Maurice Quinlivan

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has expressed concern at HIQA’s Report on University Hospital Limerick’s Emergency Department, which deemed that the hospital was not compliant with HSE patient safety and patient dignity standards or with workforce capacity standards.

Sinn Féin TD for Limerick Maurice Quinlivan called for a comprehensive plan to deal with the severe capacity deficits in the University of Limerick Hospital Group and Community Healthcare Group 3, which covers the same area. 

He said these management units needed to be completely amalgamated and resourced to tackle the many severe capacity deficits in the midwest.

They added that, based on HIQA’s report, UHL had not improved sufficiently since the 2019 Independent Review of Unplanned Care which the HSE had previously decided was no longer relevant to publish. The HIQA report outlines how the emergency department resuscitation room was being used for Covid-19 and overflow patients, a practice which was clearly not conducive to staff or patient safety.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“We are extremely concerned by HIQA’s Report on University Hospital Limerick’s Emergency Department, which is not compliant with patient safety and dignity standards or with workforce capacity standards.

“The HIQA review outlines how the emergency department resuscitation room was being used for Covid-19 and overflow patients.

“That is clearly not an acceptable practice in terms of staff or patient safety.

“Emergency departments across the State are not capable of handling the demand they are facing.

“Patients are left waiting far too long almost everywhere, but the overcrowding is particularly severe in Limerick.

“The midwest health region needs a serious, multi-annual plan to tackle capacity deficits and implement reforms across care sectors.

“The midwest, and all regions, also need a clear pipeline of nursing graduates and specialists to fill the staffing gaps which HIQA identified.”

Teachta Quinlivan said:

“This damning report confirms what I have been saying for years that the current set up, structures, and management practice at UHL are not fit for purpose.

“The government and HSE have 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 like UHL has been for years.

“The previous ED closures were not followed up with the investment that was needed in UHL, and now the hospital is a single point of failure in the region.

“Based on HIQA’s report UHL has not improved since the 2019 Independent Review of Unplanned Care.

“Limerick deserves better healthcare planning. The HIQA report identifies a clear need for more beds and more specialist nurses in the emergency department.”

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