Concerns remain over lack of funding for new ED at University Hospital Limerick

LABOUR:  LACK OF FUNDING 'IS SCANDALOUS'

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Concerns remain over lack of funding for new ED at University Hospital Limerick

The design and construction team recently handed over the new emergency department to UL Hospitals Group - Picture: Twitter/@colettecowan1

UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick is set to commission €3m worth of equipment before it officially opens its new emergency department in the coming weeks.

Since March, the UL Hospitals Group has stated that it aims to open the new emergency department on May 29, subject to recruitment and funding.

And while the HSE has made a €1.4m funding commitment in its plan for 2017, the hospital requires an additional €2.7m in order to open the new facility, a spokesperson said.

CEO Colette Cowan informed the Labour Party health spokesperson Alan Kelly, whose constituents attend UHL, that the €2.7m had not yet been committed on April 20.

Deputy Kelly described this as “scandalous”.

“I fully support the CEO of the Mid-West Group of hospitals. She is delivering for the people of the Mid West in taking this action. It would be immoral to still operate the old A&E while we have a new state-of-the-art purpose built one available and the staff recruited. Minister Harris needs to instruct the HSE to provide this funding. The people of the Mid West have taken enough.”

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan echoed her party colleague’s concerns and said that the new facility “simply has to open by the end of May”.

She told the Limerick Leader that, after meeting with the chief executive in recent weeks, Ms Cowan strongly indicated that UHL will open the emergency department without the extra allocation. However, Deputy O’Sullivan said that this could cause “financial difficulties” if the UL Hospitals Group does not get the allocation.

“But, really, she should not be put into that position if the staff are recruited, which they nearly all are, from what I understand, and the building is ready. And, above all else, the patients need somewhere, where there will be more comfort, more privacy, more dignity in their treatment, and so do the people working in the place,” she said. 

The UL Hospitals Group is looking to recruit 94 additional staff for the new facility in Dooradoyle, which will be three times’ the size of the current ED.