'Disgust' at overcrowding 'crisis' at University Hospital Limerick amid virus outbreak

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

'Disgust' at overcrowding 'crisis' at University Hospital Limerick amid virus outbreak

69 patients were on trolleys at UHL this Wednesday

UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick is enduring the worst rate of overcrowding this Wednesday morning, with more than double the patient numbers than any other hospital in the country.

According to figures published by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, there were 69 patients being treated on emergency department trolleys and additional trolleys or patients in the wards at UHL.  

The is amid a fresh outbreak of the norovirus winter vomiting bug, which has forced UHL to impose visiting bans at two wards in the hospital. 

The second worst rate of overcrowding in Ireland is Cork University Hospital, with just 30 patients on trolleys. 

Reacting to the figures this Wednesday, Solidarity councillor Cian Prendiville said that he was “disgusted”, and described the current situation as a “crisis and an emergency”. 

“When they opened the new emergency department, it was new walls but the same problem,” he told the Leader. 

He said that UHL continues to suffer from the “centralisation of the A&E crisis” as a result of the closure of St John’s, Ennis and Nenagh emergency departments. 

“This is as a result of decades of underfunding,” he said, and he is now calling for the small emergency departments to be reopened. 

Following the alert of the norovirus outbreak, a spokesperson for the UL Hospitals Group  said that UHL “has been experiencing a high number of patients attending the ED in recent days.  We have admitted a lot of seriously ill patients recently, many of who remain in the ED awaiting a bed.

“We are asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep ED services for the patients who need them most.  For example, many patients with limb injuries can go to an Injury Unit in Ennis, Nenagh or St John’s Hospital.  Injury Units are open in Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday and 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday at St. John's Hospital. 

“Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.”

She added: “However, if you are seriously injured or ill or are worried your life is at risk the ED will assess and treat you as a priority.”