THE IRISH Nurses and Midwives Organisation has set up an online petition, urging the UL Hospitals Group to reopen a ward at University Hospital Limerick amid significant overcrowding.
The petition was launched on Tuesday afternoon, just days after UHL announced the closure of Ward 1A, comprising 17 beds.
On Monday, there were 72 patients on trolleys at UHL, which dipped to 68 patients this Tuesday.
In the petition, the INMO states: “University Hospital Limerick is overcrowded and understaffed. This is bad for patients, nurses, and all hospital staff.
“Limerick needs more hospital beds, not fewer. That is why we are calling on management to reopen a much-needed 17-bed ward, closed in the last week in March. Closing beds will only worsen Limerick’s overcrowding crisis.
“Limerick’s overcrowding is the highest in the country. We regularly see over 60 patients a day forced to wait without a proper bed. It simply does not make sense to close further beds when faced with such a problem. We’re standing united and strong for a safer hospital and service. Stand with us.”
As of Tuesday 6pm, there were over 400 signatures.
A spokesperson for the UL Hospitals Group said that five bed spaces in the vacated acute medical assessment unit opened this Monday.
The 15-bedded medical ward 4C will be fully staffed at weekends.
The UL Hospitals Group has previously explained that Ward 1A is to close to facilitate the completion of works on a new fracture unit.
The spokesperson added that the plan to close the unit is offset by recently-opened 12-bed surgical short stay unit; three extra cardiology beds opened last week; five bed spaces are being looked at the vacated former acute medical assessment unit.