Staff member claims 'one attendant providing food for 90 patients' in Limerick emergency department

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

Staff member claims 'one attendant providing food for 90 patients' in Limerick emergency department

The claim was repeated by Deputy Maurice Quinlivan in Dail Eireann this Wednesday

A STAFF member at University Hospital Limerick contacted a TD this week, claiming that just one attendant was feeding more than 90 patients over a four-day period in the emergency department, Dail Eireann heard this Wednesday afternoon.

Deputy Maurice Quinlivan repeated the claim during a topical issues debate in Dail Eireann. The Sinn Fein TD expressed disappointment that Minister for Health Simon Harris was not present to make a response.

Deputy Quinlivan said: “On Monday I was contacted by somebody who works at University Hospital Limerick, and they stated and I quote: ‘There is only one attendant providing food for over 90 patients in the emergency department over the last four days. And as there was no staff cover available, some patients couldn’t get fed or couldn’t get a cup of tea.”

Speaking on Minister Harris’ behalf, Minister of State Jim Daly said: “In relation to the claim that some patients are not being fed, the UL Hospitals Group has advised that, except for one catering attendant who is currently on leave, there is a full catering staff complement.

“UL Hospitals Group has advised that they are managing this deficit from their relief pool. At times, there may be unscheduled sick leave that could create pressures on the service, however, full catering is provided to all patients who are not fasting due to medical reasons.”

Minister Daly said: “Behind every trolley number, there is a patient in need of effective, timely and compassionate care from our health service. That is why the Government is committed to breaking the cycle of overcrowding in our health service.”

There were 166 patients on trolleys between Monday and Wednesday.