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People with illness in Limerick afraid to attend UHL – Byrne

Urgent action required from hospital management and Taskforce to get treatment times under control

11th September 2023 - Senator Maria Byrne

Excessive patients awaiting treatment on trolleys at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) is causing a growing sense of alarm among anyone who feel they may require medical treatment, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

“115 patients were recorded on trolleys today, 25 in the Emergency Department and 69 elsewhere in the hospital,” Senator Maria Byrne said. “That we are seeing such high levels of overcrowding before the winter flu and virus season is creating a real sense of unease locally. Many people feel that if they become ill enough to warrant hospital care, they would be afraid to have to go to UHL.

“I know of one young person who presented to the hospital with a serious condition the weekend before last. This person also tested positive for Covid. They were left on a trolley in an open corridor from a Sunday to Thursday, presenting a high risk of spreading this virus to other vulnerable adults in A&E. This cannot go on.

“150 additional beds have been brought online into the UL Hospital Group since January 2020, 98 of which are in UL. In May of this year, accelerated enabling works were announced for a second 96 bed block as part of the overall masterplan for the UHL Campus. Since December 2019, UHL’s workforce has grown by 1,014 and the hospital’s budget for 2022 increased by 19%, when compared to 2019. Why then, are we seeing such perilous situations still unfolding?

“It is incumbent on the Emergency Department Taskforce and the Minister for Health to meet this week to come up with a plan to drastically reduce treatment times and trolley figures. UHL declared a major internal incident at the beginning of this year. It’s unacceptable to be heading in the same direction once more.

“The medical staff working in UHL carry out their duties with heroic commitment and dedication in the most stressful of conditions – but this is a failure of management and it’s the patients and staff who are suffering,” Senator Byrne concluded.

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