Hospital director says Limerick people shortchanged and calls for ‘small army’ of activists

Fintan Walsh

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Fintan Walsh

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fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

Hospital director says Limerick people shortchanged and calls for ‘small army’ of activists

Consultant Gerry Burke: The people of Limerick and the Mid-West are being short-changed. Cheated, basically. They pay taxes like everyone else.  But they get less access to medical care

A CLINICAL director of the UL Hospitals Group has said “we need to raise a small army” of activists, as he claims the people of Limerick are being left “short-changed” over access to medical care.

Dr Gerry Burke, clinical director of maternal and child health at UL Hospitals Group, made the call on social media, just weeks after he and four other top officials issued a public statement on University Hospital Limerick’s trolley crisis.

This follows the launch of the Limerick Leader’s Enough Is Enough campaign, which will continue to put a strong spotlight on UHL’s overcrowding problem until the Government gives a firm commitment to end the crisis.

Commenting on May 16 on resources given to the UL Hospitals Group, Dr Burke said: “We’re getting nowhere. There’s an obstinate refusal to address or even talk about health care inequity in Limerick and the Mid-West. Glib dismissals. We need to raise a small army of community advocates and activists.”

In another tweet on the same day, Dr Burke said: “The people of Limerick and the Mid-West are being short-changed. Cheated, basically. They pay taxes like everyone else.  But they get less access to medical care.”

Dr Burke said that, compared with the UL Hospitals Group per 1,000 of population, the five other hospital groups in the country have 25% more hospital doctors, 27% more consultants, 50% more health and social care professionals, and 7% more nurses and midwives.

One Twitter user asked Dr Burke asked how many consultants, doctors, nurses and other professionals would be required to bring the Mid-West up to national average.

In response on May 17, he said: “About 130 doctors (one third at consultant level), 200 health and social care staff, 120 nurses, 40 management/admin would bring us to the same level as the other five groups. Some 500 people altogether. Plus beds, offices, equipment, including major items like MRI.”

On April 17, five clinical directors of the UL Hospitals Group issued an open letter to the public, calling for support amid the escalating overcrowding problem in Limerick.

They said much of UL Hospital’s strategic vision is “dependent on additional funding”, which they said is necessary to bring staffing levels up to the same levels in other catchment areas.

“There is a lot of competition in Ireland for resources. Their distribution is controlled centrally. So this ambitious agenda will need the support of the community and its representatives and activists. We all want the same thing – a hospital that is deeply rooted in the community that services ir well and that it known as a centre of excellence for clinical care, teaching and research.” 

On April 4, UHL set the record for the most number of patients on trolleys with 81 patients. This Wednesday, there were 39 patients on trolleys, the third highest in the country.  The HSE has approved funding for the delivery of a 60-bed modular block at University Hospital Limerick, which is due to be delivered sometime in late 2020.