People in the Midwest are being asked to consider all treatment options as University Hospital Limerick (UHL) has experienced its highest numbers in years leaving it severely overcrowded.
There were 111 people on trolleys on Wednesday in UHL, the most ever in a single hospital in Ireland on one day, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation. There were 549 on trolleys nationally today.
Such is the severity of the situation, UHL ran out of trolleys and patients were forced to sit on chairs, “for a number of days - they can’t even lie down”, Mary Fogarty of the INMO’s Midwest branch said.
Ms Fogarty said nurses working in the hospital are “embarrassed” to go to work and witness the levels of overcrowding. “It presents several risks to patients and staff,” Ms Fogarty said on RTÉ’s Drivetime.
INMO have called on HIQA to investigate the situation in University Hospital Limerick and also called for “direct intervention” from the HSE and the Minister for Health.
“Time and time again, our members have called for real and meaningful action to curb the overcrowding crisis in our hospitals.
“We cannot go back to business as usual in our hospitals as society begins to reopen. Non-emergency care must be curtailed in our hospitals until the end of February to allow nurses and midwives to have some chance of doing their jobs safely,” INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said.
Colette Cowan, the CEO of UL hospitals, asked people to “consider your options” amid the hospital experiencing its “highest numbers in years”.
“We are experiencing very high volumes of persons attending ED since last weekend. Highest numbers in years. Please consider your options, talk with your GP, pharmacist or access our assessment & injury units at Nenagh, Ennis & St Johns.
“We are managing high numbers of patients with acute illness from Covid and others recovering slowly from Covid alongside staff absences due to isolation. We must also ensure access for patients waiting for time critical surgery alongside many emergency surgical admissions.
“We apologise profusely for any delays in accessing a bed, but will ensure care is provided at all times. We simply do not have the capacity to meet the bed demands & are working closely with clinical decision makers to improve access as soon as feasible,” Ms Cowan said.