07 Jul 2022

‘Patients afraid to attend the hospital’ - Limerick senator

‘Patients afraid to attend the hospital’ - Limerick senator

TWO REPORTS are due out which will provide recommendations to address the “frightening” problems at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).

Limerick’s main hospital came in for severe criticism following the publication of a Hiqa report which arose from an unannounced visit.

Government Senator Maria Byrne has described its contents as “damaging, concerning, disappointing and shocking” and accused the Department of Health of “putting their head in the sand” over issues at the hospital in Dooradoyle.

“UHL is mainly non-compliant in all Hiqa standards. That to me is most frightening,” Ms Byrne said in the Seanad this Tuesday, highlighting patients going missing, a 200-long waiting list for diabetic services and “not enough” neurological nurses. “The hospital is at crisis point. To hear patients say they are afraid to go to the hospital is the most frightening statement people can make,” she added.

The 39-page report raised concerns about patient safety as a result of overcrowding. It also states conditions at the Emergency Department are insufficient to meet the needs of patients and they compromise the delivery of safe care.

It also details how the hospital is failing to comply with national standards governing patient dignity, patient care and staffing levels.

Ms Byrne said it’s “deeply concerning” Health Minister Stephen Donnelly had yet to address the report. However, after she secured time to raise the matter, Junior Minister Frank Feighan responded on behalf of government.

He said: “I am concerned about the significant risk to service users.”

Mr Feighan pointed out a report commissioned by UHL, and carried out by Deloitte, to review and advise on patient flow, alongside an expert team’s recommendations are due out in the coming weeks. These, he said, “are expected to help identify mitigations” to the problems outlined in the Hiqa report.

“The Hiqa report provides an important opportunity for a renewed focus on the capacity and capability, and of the quality and safety of emergency services delivered to the people of the Mid-West region by UHL,” the Minister of State added.

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