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Fine Gael pressure mounts on Donnelly over emergency department crisis at Limerick hospital

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Concerns have been raised about overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Concerns have been raised about overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Concerns have been raised about overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Fine Gael is to pile pressure on Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to produce a plan to deal with the overcrowding crisis at University Hospital Limerick’s emergency department.

Mr Donnelly will be asked to come before the Fine Gael parliamentary party in the coming weeks on foot of a motion tabled by Clare TD Joe Carey calling for an action plan to address the crisis at the main public hospital in the midwest.

The State’s health watchdog, the Health Information and Quality Authority, last week issued a damning report into chronic overcrowding and significant staff and bed shortages which raised concerns about patient safety.

The report found that one patient was left waiting for 116 hours, another for 85 hours and a third patient for 71 hours. The number of patients in the resuscitation area was twice that of its capacity.

Mr Carey said the situation facing people in Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary was “extremely frustrating” and “totally unacceptable” given the levels of investment in the hospital over the last decade.

He said there was a need for an elective-only hospital in the midwest, an increase in inpatient bed capacity at other hospitals in the region and 24/7 access to diagnostics at UHL.

“We need action on this now, and I’d be asking that he [Mr Donnelly] come to the Fine Gael parliamentary party to explain what he is going to do. We need a short, medium and long-term plan for UHL. I just need to see more action from him and I want to know what plans he has in place to deal with the chronic overcrowding situation at UHL.”

The motion, which calls on Mr Donnelly “to produce an action plan to address the short, medium and long term issues at the University Hospital Limerick” will be discussed and likely adopted at the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting tonight.

Mr Donnelly’s spokesperson said last night that a HSE expert team is reviewing the day-to-day functioning of the ED to “identify what is required locally, regionally and nationally to support sustained improvement.


“The minister is aware of the sustained increase in ED attendance nationally in 2022. He has met with the chair, CEO, and senior management in the HSE and has requested the development of comprehensive plans for each ED, including Limerick.”

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