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Hospital overcrowding in University Hospital Limerick highest in state for 2017

2 January, 2018 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin TD for Limerick Maurice Quinlivan has slammed the Government on the back of the figures released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) which show that for 2017 University hospital in Limerick recorded the highest levels of overcrowding in the state since records began.

In University Hospital Limerick, the recorded number was an incredible 8869 people.

 Speaking this morning, Deputy Quinlivan said:

“The figures are stark, shocking and totally unacceptable. They are simply incredible. 8,869 people were forced to spend a night or more on a trolley in 2017 in University Hospital Limerick.

"These are not just statistics, they are human beings. We know them because often they are our family, neighbours and friends. In many cases they are our grandparents, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters.

"These figures must be a wake up call to the Minister for Health.  They represent more than a six-fold increase on the figures from 2006.

“To put the crisis is in Limerick into context, we have 2,054 more people on trollies Cork university hospital which was the second most over-crowded hospital in the state.

"The number of patients on trolleys for 2017 year represents the highest ever recorded number since the INMO started collating such figures. The trolley watch numbers are a disgrace representing a shocking 649% increase since 2007.

“The trolley crisis, like the waiting list crisis, is a symptom of a health service with huge capacity issues, beds and staff, as well as problems regarding the recruitment and retention of healthcare staff. We have a health service which is clearly failing.

“Due to the legacy of the recruitment embargo and funding cuts thereafter, beds have been closed, staff have been lost, and the capacity of the health service is far too small. Currently, staffing shortages are leading to the closure of both acute and long-term beds in many hospitals.

"These figures today are a sign of a deeper malaise within the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive (HSE), as well as being evidence that our health service cannot cope with the demand being placed on it due to completely inadequate bed and staffing levels and point to the need for emergency action.

“The huge increase in the number of patients on trolleys for 2017 also exposes Minister Harris’ abject failure to tackle the trolley crisis here in Limerick.

"Unless Minister Harris shows the leadership necessary and addresses the main issue of capacity – the lack of adequate beds and staff – then it will be the same story in 2018 as beds and services will continue to be curtailed and trolley numbers will continue to grow.

“In July last year, Minister Harris expressed his anger when he contacted UHL to criticized management at the hospital over the ongoing crisis in the Emergency Department. It is now six months later and the situation continues to get worse on an almost daily basis.

"Minister Harris must acknowledge that his efforts to date are not working and he needs to bring forward emergency measures to ensure this problem in Limerick is addressed immediately."

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