University Hospital Limerick's 2019 trolley figures branded a 'national scandal'

Rebecca Laffan

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Rebecca Laffan

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rebecca.laffan@limerickleader.ie

University Hospital Limerick's 2019 trolley figures branded a 'national disgrace'

UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick has been confirmed as the country's worst-hit hospital by overcrowding in 2019.

A total of 13,941 people were left on trolleys in UHL last year, according to an end-of-year analysis by the Irish Nurse and Midwives Organisation (INMO) released this Thursday.

The report shows that trolley figures nationwide have hit record-highs, with 118,367 patients going without hospital beds in last year.

This confirms 2019 as the worst-ever year for hospital overcrowding since records began - 9% higher than 2018.

Cork University Hospital accounted for 11,066 patients on trolleys, followed by University Hospital Galway with 7,993, South Tipperary General Hospital with 6,942 and University Hospital Waterford with 6,313.

Sinn Féin TD for Limerick Maurice Quinlivan, who has described the situation as “truly appalling”, said: “The 2019 figures of almost 14,000 people is a national scandal; it is both unacceptable and disgraceful.

“The Minister for Health and Fine Gael are clearly not fit for the role,” he continued, “they have utterly failed the people of Limerick.

“This is truly appalling and shows utter contempt from the Government. These are not just figures they are real people, people we know, often family members and many of them elderly often lingering on trollies for hours or days.

“There are many solutions ranging from ensuring increased investment for transitional care beds, adequate step-down facilities, home care packages, and home help hours to ensure that all patients who can be moved home or to a more appropriate care setting all these will help.”

The INMO’s general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “Things are getting worse, not better. These figures should be falling, but we’re going the wrong direction.

“Overcrowding used to be a winter problem. Now it’s an all-year problem, which gets worse in winter. Our members are rightly appalled by the conditions they are forced to work and care for patients in. 2020 should be a year where understaffing and overcrowding are brought under control, but that simply won’t happen without investment and an end to the recruitment ban.”