'The crisis is worsening': 1,200 patients on trolleys at University Hospital Limerick in April

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

'The crisis is worsening': 1,200 patients on trolleys at University Hospital Limerick in April

UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick has experienced its worst ever April for overcrowding, as more than 1,200 patients were treated on trolleys in its emergency department and wards, new figures show. 

According to monthly figures published by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), there were 1,206 patients on trolleys at UHL last month. 

By a significant margin, that is the highest level of overcrowding for the month of April. It is among the highest monthly rates of overcrowding for any hospital since records began in 2006. 

In April 2018, there were 1,028 patients on trolleys at UHL—a new record then. This April's overcrowding figure is a sharp increase on the situation in April 2017, when there were 649 patients on trolleys. 

That is an 85% increase in overcrowding in the same time period in just two years. 

The lowest rate of overcrowding ever recorded in month of April at UHL was in 2007 when there were just 102 patients on trolleys. That figure is now generally exceeded in two of three days, based on 2019 patterns. 

UHL's overcrowding situation was significantly higher than other hospitals in April, according to the INMO figures. 

Cork University Hospital had the second highest with 826 patients on trolleys, followed by 683 patients on trolleys at University Hospital Galway. 

Nationally, it was the worst ever April for overcrowding with 10,229 patients on trolleys. 

Responding to the figures, INMO general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said: “This is the second month in 2019 where over 10,000 patients have been forced to wait without a bed. The crisis is without question worsening. Overcrowding hits two main groups directly: those who depend on public health services and those who work in them, providing the safest care they can in these conditions.

“We started the trolley count over a decade ago because of unacceptable overcrowding. The problem has more than doubled since then."