TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has defended the commissioning of an ‘independent expert review’ into the University Hospital Limerick trolley crisis during an interview with the Limerick Leader.
The “enhanced expert review” of the UHL emergency department was announced by Minister for Health Simon Harris this Thursday morning.
The announcement followed calls from TDs in the Mid-West for an independent investigator to specifically investigate the hospital’s overcrowding crisis after UHL set a new record for highest number of patients on trolleys on April 4.
The trolley crisis was also raised by several members of the public as the Taoiseach canvassed in the city centre this Thursday.
When asked by the Limerick Leader what this review is going to find that isn’t already in the public domain, Mr Varadkar said: “We can’t really preempt the outcome of an independent review.”
“The whole point of it being independent is it is not predetermined what it's going to find but I think what it can do is help us to plan ahead.”
“It will help us to make sure that when those 60 beds open next year,” he added.
“That they don’t just get clogged up and that it makes a real difference in terms of patients going through the hospital much more quickly.”
“I think that is the way I would see it, is that the extra resources are happening,” Mr Vardkar said.
“The budget has been going up every year for a few years, there are more staff every year.”
“There will be more beds next year and the outcome of this independent review will maybe help us to work out how we can break out of the cycle and more specifically exactly who needs to do what.”
“As much as I would like to be able to run a hospital from Dublin, I’m sure Simon Harris would love to be able to run all the healthcare facilities in the country -No Taoiseach or no Minister can do that.”
“It's about getting the 150 people in the system doing the right thing. Some of them might be working really hard but they mightn’t realise that they need to do things a bit differently.”
There were 1,206 patients on a trolley in April at UHL, the worst ever recorded April in national overcrowding since records began in 2006.