University Hospital Limerick transforms old A&E into ward to cut overcrowding

Fintan Walsh


Fintan Walsh


University Hospital Limerick transforms old A&E into ward to cut overcrowding

The old emergency department, closed on May 29, has been turned into a new 17-bed short stay unit

THE OLD emergency department at University Hospital Limerick has been transformed into a 17-bed ward to help assuage the ongoing overcrowding crisis. 

The launch of the new facility comes after new figures show that the Dooradoyle hospital is again the most overcrowded in the country. 

According to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, there were 38 patients being treated on emergency department trolleys and on extra trolleys or beds in the wards at UHL, this Tuesday morning. 

In response to persistent overcrowding at UHL, the UL Hospitals Group turned the former emergency department into a 17-bed medical short stay unit, which opened this Monday. 

A spokesperson said that plans for the short-stay ward were initially announced when the emergency department opened on May 29 last. Since then the refurbishment has been underway and has continued throughout the summer.

On presentation to the new ED or to the Acute Medical Assessment Unit at UHL, medical patients who require admission, with an expected length of stay of no greater than 48 hours, can now be admitted to the new medical short-stay ward.

“The 17 bed medical short stay ward, which will operate 7 days per week, 24 hours a day,  is one of the measures designed to address the bed capacity needs of UL Hospitals Group.

“In addition to the new medical short stay ward, UHL has 400 inpatient beds which is recognised as being insufficient for the needs of the Mid-West region,” the spokesperson stated. 

A bid to build an additional 96 bed block on the UHL site has been submitted to the Department of Health and approval has been granted for €1m funding of the design stage of the build.