SINN Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan has called for the new MRI scanner in University Hospital Limerick (UHL) be operational around-the-clock.
This, he says is the only way of ensuring the huge backlog of patients are dealt with as soon as possible.
The Limerick TD also called for emergency measures to be introduced at UHL immediately, to ensure the safety of patients and staff during what will be the most overcrowded winter on record at the Dooradoyle hospital.
Mr Quinlivan said: “The number of people left on trolleys at UHL so far this year has already surpassed the total number of people on trolleys in 2018. That means we are likely to have a couple of thousand extra patients left on trolleys at UHL in 2019. It’s an absolute disgrace.
“We need an emergency plan, backed up with significant funding, in addition to the winter plan, to ensure the safety of patients and staff in UHL this winter,” he added.
He pointed out this winter represents the most crowded on record.
”Just when you think the overcrowding crisis at UHL can’t get any worse, it does,” he added, “Fine Gael have outdone themselves yet again this year. Their bad policies and inaction has yet again escalated the crisis at UHL.”
Health Minister Simon Harris announced the new MRI scanner will arrive next month.
However, Mr Quinlivan was critical after it emerged this will only operate between Monday and Friday 9am to 5pm.
“It’s ridiculous to think that this MRI won’t be utilised on a 24-hour schedule to ensure the massive backlog of patients is cleared as quickly as possible,” he said, “This decision needs to be changed, and the new MRI needs to be available on a 24/7 basis to help address the overcrowding.” “People are right to be angry and to have these questions” he concluded.