April 3, 2024
Stephen Donnelly must come to University Hospital Limerick with solutions to the overcrowding crisis or he needn’t come at all – Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin TD for Limerick City Maurice Quinlivan TD has called on the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to bring forward plans for an emergency response to the severe and persistent overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick.

Deputy Quinlivan was speaking in advance of a visit by Stephen Donnelly to the hospital tomorrow.

He said:

“University Hospital Limerick consistently has the highest number of people being treated in corridors and on hospital trolleys across the State.

“The hospital has seen the full capacity protocol almost in perpetual operation, and is in a constant state of crisis. This is no way to run a hospital in a modern country.

“In February, an incredible 2,247 people were treated on trolleys at UHL. This is the highest number on record for any hospital, for any month ever. It’s a crisis that is getting worse and worse.

“There are significant staffing gaps in the hospital; including a deficit of 200 nurses and 70 healthcare assistants; as highlighted by unions when Mary Lou McDonald and I met them in Limerick today. There is also an urgent need to fill non-consultant doctor posts.

“Persistent overcrowding is resulting in elderly patients, children, and very vulnerable people being treated on trolleys in dangerous conditions.

“The people of Limerick and the wider region deserve better.

“What is needed is a coherent plan to end the overcrowding crisis once and for all.

“The government keeps talking of the promised 96 bed unit, but that won’t come on stream until mid-2025 and the closure of the hospital’s Nightingale ward will see 48 beds lost. This is not sustainable.

“Unless Stephen Donnelly is coming to UHL tomorrow with a plan to address persistent overcrowding, he needn’t bother coming at all.

“At least three times in the last year, the government has announced 1,500 rapid-build beds for the hospital system, and they are nowhere to be seen.

“The broken promises show that this government has thrown in the towel on health and on resolving the problem in UHL.

“We need a new government with the energy and ambition to turn the tide and build a strong health service that works for everybody.”

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