04 Jul 2022

Staff and patient safety at University Hospital Limerick a 'major concern' say INMO

Staff and patient safety at University Hospital Limerick a 'major concern' say INMO

University Hospital Limerick PIC: Adrian Butler

THE NUMBER of patients on trolleys in University Hospital Limerick today make up over 25.2% of the total number of patients on trolleys across the country.

That is according to the latest figures released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation who have outlined concerns around staff and patient safety at the hospital. 

There are currently 118 people on trolleys at the hospital today, there are 468 patients waiting for beds at hospitals across the country. 

INMO Assistant Director of Industrial Relations, Mary Fogarty said: "It feels like Groundhog Day for the staff, patients, and wider community of University Hospital Limerick today with 118 patients without a bed.

"So far in May we have seen over 1,728 patients without a bed in the hospital. This is not normal and should not be accepted as such. 

"The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation is very concerned about the safety of staff and patients in the hospital.

"A recent report of an inspection by the Health and Safety Authority of the Emergency Department in UHL reinforced that a fire safety report of the hospital stating that there should be no trolley parking in areas of the hospital. Staff are reporting that this is not being adhered to.

"The report of the HSA into improving safety conditions in University Hospital Limerick has been with senior management in the HSE since September 2021.

"We have had 7932 patients so far on trolleys in UHL since the beginning of January with little action from the HSE except the commissioning of an expert review into the hospital, which has yet to commence. This means very little to the nurses on the ground who are at the end of their tether."

Some patients were left waiting over 14 hours for a bed at the hospital this weekend, many over the age of 75. 

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, overwhelmed 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 HSE's Emergency Taskforce should be convened urgently to discuss the persistent overcrowding in UHL and emergency departments right across the country.

"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."

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