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16 May 2022

University Hospital Limerick records highest number of patients on trolleys at Irish hospitals

University Hospital Limerick

UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick has recorded a record number of patients on trolleys in Irish hospitals. 

There are currently 126 people waiting on trolleys at the hospital, the highest number of patient overcrowding in any Irish hospital since the INMO began its TrolleyWatch in 2006.

The number of patients on trolleys in University Hospital Limerick today make up over 28% of the total number of patients on trolleys across the country today (442 patients).

INMO Assistant Director of Industrial Relations, Mary Fogarty said: "The fact that we are seeing a record number of patients on trolleys in University Hospital Limerick on the 21st of April means that the bed management system is completely broken.

"The INMO has been sounding the alarm on issues within UHL for years. We need to see the emergency plan activated for the hospital this morning and a public announcement of same.

"Hospital management need to urgently stop admitting patients for elective care as there are no beds within the hospital. The system is completely congested."

Ms Fogarty continued: "INMO members in University Hospital Limerick are reporting significant work-related stress due to the persistent overcrowding and inability of provide appropriate care to all admitted patients. They are exhausted and burnt out.

"As well as trying to deal with a completely unsafe environment they also are dealing with public dissatisfaction and impatience with the situation in the hospital.  They also have serious concerns for the safety of patients and have advised management repeatedly of same.

"The situation in UHL has been allowed to fester for far too long. We need to see real, meaningful short, medium, and long-term action. Patients, nurses, midwives, and the wider hospital community deserve so much better."

UHL have apologised to patients who are currentlty facing long waits for a bed at the hospital. 

A spokesperson for the UL Hospital Group said: "This is not the care we wish to provide for our patients and we would like to assure patients and their loved ones that management and staff are making every effort to minimise wait times for admitted patients.

"The hospital remains under severe pressure as a result of sustained high demand at our Emergency Department. On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week a total of 273 and 259 patients attended our ED. This compares to the average 209 daily attendances during 2021, our busiest year on record.

"At 8am this morning, April 21st, there were a total of 85 admitted patients waiting for a bed outside of designated bed areas. This included patients in the Emergency Department, Medical and Surgical Assessment Units and on the wards.

"There were not 126 patients waiting on trolleys at UHL today. However the numbers waiting for a bed remain far too high, resulting in poor patient experiences."

The statement went on to say that the level of escalation at the hospital has been raised which will result in cancellations in scheduled care. 

"The number of patients who require 1:1 care at UHL is currently high – at over 40 patients – and this reflects the complex care needs and acuity of illness of patients at present.

"We acknowledge the tremendous work being done by all of our staff at UL Hospitals Group to meet current service demands and to keep patients safe."

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