HSE to spend €46k per day on hospital block at University Hospital Limerick

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Email:

fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

HSE to spend €46k per day on hospital block at University Hospital Limerick

UHL is to get a new 60-bed block by end of 2019

THE HSE will pay out more than €46,000 to developers, a day, for the construction of a new four-storey building at University Hospital Limerick—a new measure to tackle the region’s chronic overcrowding crisis.

The proposed 60-bed block will act as an interim measure while the hospital awaits the delivery of a new €25m 96-bed block by 2021.

And according to the HSE, who has put the project out to public tender, the successful candidate will be awarded a €14m contract and will have to carry out the rapid-build in just 300 days.

That amounts to a daily expenditure of €46,666.67 on the project’s completion by the HSE.

The HSE filed a planning application for the development on June 22, and a decision is expected to be made by Limerick City and County Council by August 16.

According to the tender, the proposed development will comprise 60 ensuite single bedrooms, with wards based on a “racetrack plan where the beds are arranged on the perimeter of the building”.

As part of the Government’s 2040 capital plan, it will fund the €25m 96-bed complex.

“In the medium term, a new bed block is being considered as an interim solution to the bed capacity issue. This would provide 60 additional beds in the medium term, is contingent on funding and would take 12 months to complete. UL Hospitals understands that the proposal for system build additional acute beds at UHL is currently under active consideration by the Department of Health and the HSE.”

Asked what will happen to the block when the 96 beds arrive, the spokesperson said the 60-bed block “would remain in place and be used for clinical purposes, the specifics of which will be determined at that time and be based on patient demand”.

According to a monthly report by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, UHL had the worst level of overcrowding in the country with 897 patients being treated on emergency department trolleys and on extra trolleys or beds in the wards.

It was significantly higher than every other hospital in the country, with Cork University Hospital next on the list with 614 patients. 

Overcrowding this July was 26% higher than July 2017, when there were 235 fewer patients on trolleys in the ED and wards. 

In July 2007, there were just 18 patients on trolleys. On a daily basis, there are more than 40 patients on trolleys.

Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan described the situation as “disgraceful”.

“The situation cannot continue with these shocking figures. If 897 people in the middle of summer are on trolleys in Limerick University Hospital is not a wake-up call for this government one wonders when they will act decisively and intervene.

The 60-bed block is expected to be delivered in late 2019.