Beds at Limerick hospital remain off-limits since summer 2016

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

20 beds at St John’s Hospital remain closed since early summer last year

20 beds at St John’s Hospital remain closed since early summer last year

TWENTY inpatient beds at St John’s Hospital in Limerick still remain closed since early summer last year, the UL Hospitals Group confirmed at a recent regional health forum.

Sinn Féin councillor Malachy McCreesh raised the issue with hospital management at the regional health forum last Tuesday.

He said he was “very disappointed” the beds were closed, despite acknowledgement that a lack of inpatient beds are contributing to overcrowding at UHL.

“These beds have been unavailable since early summer 2016. It is essential that the required staff are recruited urgently in order to have these beds available to relieve pressure on the emergency department at University Hospital Limerick,” he stated.

In May this year, UHL opened the doors to its new ED at a cost of €25m. However since, it has endured winter rates of overcrowding and was the worst hospital in the country for overcrowding last month.

To help ease overcrowding at UHL, it has transformed its former ED into a 17-bed short stay medical unit.

“The recent opening of 17 medical short stay beds in the old ED in UHL and the planned opening of 16 new beds at Nenagh Hospital by year end is certainly a welcome development.”

However, emergency consultants have warned since the opening of the emergency department that if the hospital does not fill its 100-inpatient bed deficit, the overcrowding problem at UHL will persist. That is why the hospital has put in a bid to secure HSE funding to construct a new 96-bed block at its Dooradoyle campus.

A spokesperson for the UHL Group confirmed there are “ongoing discussions” with the St John’s Hospital management team regarding a specific re-opening date for the 20 beds. “We are working towards the end of October, there is a nursing recruitment campaign underway at present and the specific date for re-opening will be set depending on the successful recruitment of these staff,” she stated.