Union says University Hospital Limerick is in ‘clear crisis’ amid summer overcrowding

Union says University Hospital Limerick is in ‘clear crisis’ amid summer overcrowding

THE IRISH Nurses and Midwives Organisation has said it is “gravely concerned” about the overcrowding situation at University Hospital Limerick, after it equaled the national overcrowding record this Thursday morning. 

According to its daily figures, there were 81 patients being treated on trolleys in the emergency department and wards at UHL this Thursday. 

This is the joint-highest figure recorded for any single hospital in a day, as UHL set the current record on April 3. 

UHL set the previous record of 80 patients on March 22, 2013. 

The INMO has now called for a “major emergency plan” to be put in place. This comes after Minister for Health Simon Harris confirmed that experts from the NHS and Royal College of Surgeons Ireland are to review UHL’s overcrowding situation. 

Reacting to the figures, INMO Limerick’s spokesperson, Mary Fogarty said that UHL is in “clear crisis”. 

“Eighty-one patients on trolleys is the equivalent of three full wards.

“Nurses expect additional strain on the health service in winter, but in mid-July UHL is in crisis mode. We are gravely concerned about the capacity of the service to provide safe care to patients.

“It's clearly time for a major emergency plan for the hospital. We need to halt all activity at the hospital with the exception of emergency admissions, to enable the hospital to bring about a controlled and safe environment for patients.

“The hospital simply does not have enough capacity for this number of patients. The INMO wrote to the Minister for Health over recent ward closures, but it is now clearly time for HSE intervention and an urgent boost in resources from national government,” she stated. 

A spokesperson for the UL Hospitals Group urged the public this Tuesday to consider all care options before attending the emergency department. 

The spike in overcrowding follows a “busy weekend” and a delay in discharges across the hospital group, the spokesperson said. 

Three to four ward beds have been closed due to infection prevention and control reasons.