Simon Harris at a previous visit of University Hospital Limerick
THE MINISTER for Health Simon Harris has visited University Hospital Limerick to carry out an unannounced, snap inspection of its overcrowded emergency department this Wednesday afternoon, the Limerick Leader can confirm.
The Minister and his team visited the emergency department and met with staff and management, shortly after lunch, and stayed for approximately two hours.
The Minister's visit came as a huge surprise to many staff at the busy hospital, which has endured the country's worst levels of overcrowding for years.
This Wednesday morning, there were 76 on trolleys, just five short of matching the national record.
In July, UHL had 1,293 patients being treated on trolleys in the emergency department and the wards.
Following calls by public representative and Oireachtas members to make an unannounced visit, a spokesperson for the Minister said that he was "happy to do so today".
"The Minister for Health today made an unscheduled visit to University Hospital Limerick to meet with staff and patients, visit the Emergency Department and the AMAU (acute medical assessment unit) and to view the progress being made on the 60 bed extension to the hospital, which is due to be completed and open next year.
"The Minister was delighted to engage with staff and witness first hand their commitment and dedication," the spokesperson said.
He added: "The crucial issue for the hospital is additional bed capacity and that’s why he sanctioned the funding for the 60-bed extension which is now well underway."