Sinn Féin TD for Limerick Maurice Quinlivan has urged the Minister for Health to take decisive action to tackle the ongoing issues of overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick.
Teachta Quinlivan said:
“INMO figures released today show that 316 people are on trolleys across the state – the highest number since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“At University Hospital Limerick there are 59 people on trolleys today. This is despite the welcome opening and staffing of part of the new bed unit.
“The health workers and support staff at UHL have done trojan work over the last nine months to contain and treat patients who have caught the highly infectious virus.
“This has come at a cost. Of the healthcare workers who have contracted the virus, in the last week in which figures are available, nurses have accounted for 20%.
“This unfortunate milestone of 316 people on trolleys demonstrates that the government Winter Plan is not working when it comes to hospital capacity.
“When they announced the plan, I said it was a wishlist and not a plan.
“I was concerned about the lack of targets and the lack of timelines for staff recruitment and bed delivery. Unfortunately, my concerns have been shown to be true.
“The Minister cannot just wish the issue of overcrowding away, he needs to act. He needs to deliver. To date, he has failed to do so.
“Overcrowding means that hospital wards are full, and patients are left in corridors awaiting treatment. This puts a huge burden on our health professionals who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic.
“There is a real risk to both patients and staff alike. Overcrowded wards and corridors can become locations in which contagious viruses can quickly spread from person to person.
“We need immediate remedial action from the Minister for Health. If action is not taken immediately, I fear that these figures will rise further over the festive period.”