UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick was significantly the worst in the country for overcrowding in 2017 with nearly 9,000 patients being treated on trolleys, new figures reveal.
According to the annual Trolley Watch figures published by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, there were 8,889 patients treated on emergency department trolleys and on extra beds or trolleys in the wards at the Limerick hospital.
This is at least 2,000 more patients than any other hospital in the country, ahead of Cork University Hospital at 6,815 and University Hospital Galway at 6,563.
In 2016, there were 8,090 patients on trolleys. The lowest ever annual rate of overcrowding at the Dooradoyle facility was just 1,367 patients in 2007.
INMO general secretary Liam Doran has said that “immediate and dramatic action” is needed to tackle the overcrowding crisis.
Emergency dept very busy @ULHospitals over last few https://t.co/ArTt7YfOnz can attend Nenagh Ennis or St.John’s hospitals with minor illness/injuries leaving UHL ED for very ill patients as the flu season takes a serious grip. Support the frontline teams. Support UHL #flu https://t.co/UptHjkKhTi— Colette Cowan (@colettecowan1) January 1, 2018
“Overcrowding in late December and early January is getting worse. Despite investment in winter plans, smaller hospitals are now severely overcrowded which is manifestly unsafe and leads to higher cross infection and poorer outcomes for patients. Immediate and dramatic action is now required if further misery and yet again, record-breaking overcrowding levels, are to be avoided as the New Year dawns.”
Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan has described UHL’s annual figures as “stark, shocking and totally unacceptable. These are not just statistics, these are human beings. We know them because often they are our family, neighbours and friends. In many cases they are our grandparents, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters.”
And on Tuesday morning, UHL had one of the highest rates of overcrowding with 55 patients on trolleys, amid a flu outbreak in the Mid-West.
On Monday, UL Hospitals Group CEO, Prof Colette Cowan said on Twitter that its emergency department was “very busy” in recent days as “flu season takes a serious grip”.