WATCH: Anger at ambulance 'pile-up' at University Hospital Limerick

Up to 16 units wait to offload patients at emergency department

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh


THERE WAS a major backlog of 16 ambulance vehicles outside the emergency department at University Hospital Limerick this Tuesday – the same day UHL had the highest rate of overcrowding in the country.

Public outrage sparked after a video was uploaded on social media by a member of the public.

The video, which has been viewed more than 180,000 times, shows up to 16 ambulance vehicles and National Ambulance Service staff waiting to admit a number of patients to the A&E.

While the video was being shot, UHL had been experiencing one of its highest levels of overcrowding in recent weeks. There were 46 patients treated on A&E trolleys and additional beds or trolleys in the wards at the Dooradoyle facility on Tuesday.

UL Hospitals Group was asked to comment on the backlog of ambulances - and a statement is due later this Wednesday.

In response to the overcrowding situation, a spokesperson pointed to an "exceptionally busy" festive period and noted that the ED in UHL was one of the busiest in the country with over 60,000 attendances annually.

"Traditionally, average attendances at the ED have been approximately 150 over a 24-hour period from Mon – Fri and 120 per 24 hours at weekends. On three consecutive weekdays last week (27th, 28th and 29th Dec), the daily attendance figures ranged between 180 and 211 patients and this pattern has continued into this week, this can unfortunately cause delays to ambulances arriving at UHL. This evening (Tuesday) there are 17 adults waiting in ED for a hospital bed."

The spokesperson also pointed out that, as of Wednesday morning, there were no ambulances waiting at the hospital.

One member of the public commented on the video circulating online: “The staff and ambulance crew deserve medals for the incredible work they did their running around for hours worked into the bone.”

Another said: “Total disgrace closing the other hospitals before the new A&E was built hopefully some improvements this year if it comes on line.”

Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan tweeted: '46 people on trollies, 16 Ambulances backed up in waiting area to discharge patients @ #University Hospital #Limerick #Crisis #SomeRecovery'.