'Worst ever' trolley watch figure reported as record-breaking 92 patients without a bed in Limerick
OVERCROWDING has reached “chaotic” levels at University Hospital Limerick where there are 92 patients on trolleys, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
At 8am there were 81 patients waiting for beds, however this increased to 92 by midday, confirmed INMO Indistrial Relations Officer, Mary Fogarty.
According to the nursing representative, it is the highest ever daily figure recorded in an Irish hospital.
“There are no words to describe how bad this is. Trolleys are blocking pathways, as well as exits, and, there are doctors and nurses trying to offer ‘care’ in corridors,” Ms Fogarty said.
Ms Fogarty described the situation as being a “dangerous” environment for patients and staff.
UHL saw a 17-bed ward closed last week, which the INMO says is contributing to the problem.
However, a UHL spokesman stated Monday that the closure of 17 beds “has been offset by the opening of 22 beds elsewhere in the hospital in recent weeks”.
“In addition, the Medical Assessment Unit has increased in capacity by two beds and moved from a five-day week, 12-hour service, to 24/7 since January,” they added.
Ms Fogarty responded this Wednesday: “If this has been done, why is it not working.”
“Staff and patients are under intolerable pressure in Limerick today. This is the worst-ever figure we've recorded in an Irish hospital,” she said.
"This comes less than a week after a 17-bed ward in UHL was shut. The beds that have been closed in UHL need to be reopened immediately.”
"We are calling on the Minister to intervene and deal with the chronic overcrowding in the hospital as an urgent matter of patient and staff safety.”
The INMO has launched a petition, calling for the closed ward to be reopened and for bed capacity and staffing to be increased
The petition has gathered almost 800 signatures in the last 24 hours.
A UHL spokesman stated Monday, when 72 patients languished on trolleys in Limerick, that the hospital “sincerely regrets that any patient has to face long waits in our Emergency Department (ED)”.
“The ED at UHL is one of the busiest in the country and the numbers presenting continue to increase year-on-year. Attendances to the end of December 2018 were 71,824 representing an increase of over 6% on 2017.”
The hospital has been asked for comment this Wednesday.
Limerick Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan has called on Simon Harris to intervene.
“There is chaos at University Hospital Limerick today as the number of people on trolleys has reached a shameful new high. Eighty-one people on trolleys were recorded at the INMO count at 8am this morning, but this has already climbed to 92 people before midday,” Deputy Quinlivan said.
“This is absolutely appalling. This is the highest ever recorded at UHL. It is a shocking indictment of this government’s health policy.”
“Patients and their families are being packed into this hospital like sardines, and nurses and doctors are being forced to treat sick patients on corridors and work in a dangerously overcrowded environment.”
“No patient should have to be treated on a hospital trolley when they are at their sickest, let alone 92 people already today. I have been informed that patients are waiting days to get a hospital bed.”
The Government has allocated €2m for enabling works for a proposed €19.5m temporary 60-bed inpatient block at UHL.
Management has also sought funding for a permanent 96-bed unit, however the Government has yet to sign off on the plan.
Today, nationally, 594 admitted patients were waiting for beds - of which 432 were waiting in emergency departments, while 162 are on wards.
The second worst hit hospital today is Cork University Hospital where there are 50 patients on trolleys, and thirdly, University Hospital Galway with 43 on trolleys.
- More information on the petition can be found here: https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/reopen-the-closed-beds-in-university-hospital-limerick