Sinn Féin’s Maurice Quinlivan TD has expressed his deep concern at the call by UL Hospital’s Group urging the local public to “consider all care options” before attending the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick.
Teachta Quinlivan said that “how Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly can stand idly by while this problem escalates is beyond belief”.
Speaking today, the Limerick TD said:
“Yesterday, there were 70 people being treated on hospital trolleys at the University Hospital, today there are 63.
“The amount of people on trolleys has nearly quadrupled when compared with the numbers for this time last year.
“Staffing and capacity issues remain a huge problem, that the Minister for Health has yet to address in any meaningful way.
“I intend to raise the ongoing crisis at UHL in the Dáil again next week. Month on month this issue continues, and the Minister seems to have taken no steps to address it.”
According to UL Hospitals 283 patients attended the Emergency Department over the last 24 hours.
The Sinn Féin TD added:
“Staff at the hospital continue to do an incredible job in very difficult circumstances. They are overworked. Hospital staff in Limerick have made huge sacrifices in the battle against Covid-19.
“Over the past year, many staff members have been forced to self-isolate due to close contact concerns. I commend all our local healthcare workers and supporting staff for the vital work that they do.
“However, it leaves us in the incredible situation where UL Hospitals Group are forced to urge the Limerick public to “consider all care options” before attending the Emergency Department.
“This must be the wakeup call that the Health minister needs to take decisive action and intervene.
“Capacity and overcrowding remain a huge challenge at UHL. At a recent HSE briefing the proposed 96-bed modular unit was discussed.
“This unit when completed will be very welcome, but it will not deliver 96 new beds. Half of this unit will be to replace existing beds within UHL.
“At a time of such high trolley numbers it is imperative that all these beds are new beds. Efforts must be ramped up significantly by the Department of Health and the Minister to ensure this 96 bed unit is delivered quicker than previously planned.”