Minister Simon Harris
THE MINISTER for Health, Simon Harris, will soon pay a visit to the emergency department at University Hospital Limerick, following a week of major overcrowding in the Dooradoyle A&E.
Around 200 patients were treated on A&E trolleys and additional trolleys, beds or chairs in the wards at UHL last week. On Wednesday, there were 52 patients treated on trolleys, which is understood to be one of the highest rates of overcrowding in nearly two years.
At the request of Fine Gael Senator Kieran O’Donnell, Minister Harris will “shortly” visit the A&E.
"Whilst, everyone is looking forward to the opening of the new state-of-the-art A&E at University Hospital Limerick in 2017, in the interim we have another winter period to get through with the existing A&E.
"The continued overcrowding in the A&E here is a constant source of concern and I want Minister Harris to see first-hand the challenges faced by the University Hospital Limerick, staff and patients on a daily basis.
"Hopefully the winter initiative 2016/2017 scheme just announced by the Health Minister will help to alleviate some pressure on hospital services. However, the increased pressure on A&E services during the winter months has been a persistent and serious problem here in Limerick for a number of years,” he said last week.
He added: "My priority is to ensure that the necessary facilities are in place to provide the highest possible level of care to Limerick patients.”
As a response to consistently high levels of overcrowding over the past week, UL Hospitals Group issued a statement.
"University Hospital Limerick has been experiencing a high volume of patients attending the hospital over a number of days. This is leading to significant delays accessing beds through the Emergency Department, resulting in excessive wait times for patients.
"The public are reminded to keep the Emergency Department for emergencies only and to contact their GP or GP Out of Hours services in the first instance. Injury Units are open in Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday and 8am to 6pm at St. John's Hospital. Injury Units treat a range of minor injuries including sprains, strains, broken bones, minor burns and dislocations and a GP referral is not required," the spokesperson stated.