972% increase in trolley numbers in UHL in past decade “absolutely ridiculous" – Maurice Quinlivan TD
Sinn Féin TD for Limerick City Maurice Quinlivan today asked what level of chaos will need to be reached before action is taken at University Hospital Limerick.
Deputy Quinlivan was speaking today as the INMO published their trolley watch data for the month of May, which shows a tenfold increase in the number of people on trolleys in UHL over the past decade.
Speaking today the Limerick City TD said;
“It is so frustrating to see the number of people on trolleys in UHL remaining at such high, dangerous levels. 858 people had to wait on trolleys for a bed in UHL last month, up from just 80 in the same month in 2008, an astonishing 972% increase. This is an absolutely ridiculous situation.
“What level of chaos will need to be reached before action is taken at University Hospital Limerick? Patients in Limerick deserve access to quality healthcare the same as citizens elsewhere in Ireland, but they are being crammed into an already overwhelmed hospital.
“This situation has been escalating since the closure of Ennis and Nenagh’s emergency departments in 2007, and the plan to make UHL a centre of excellence has completely failed. What centre of excellence would have 858 people on trolleys in one month?
“It’s totally unacceptable for Fine Gael to keep blaming others for this, because when they came to power in 2011 the number of patients on trolleys in May stood at 193, but now after 7 years of Fine Gael policy the number stands at 858.
“I have repeatedly called for the Minister Harris to personally intervene to address this crisis, and yet the problems seem to be getting worse, and he is nowhere to be seen.
“Unless the government change tack and listen to the positive proposals from opposition parties, the crisis will continue into the future. We are putting forward constructive suggestions, but the government is point blank refusing to listen.
“There are many solutions ranging from ensuring increased investment for transitional care beds, adequate step-down facilities, home care packages, and home help hours to ensure that all patients who can be moved home or to a more appropriate care setting all these will help.
“However, two key issues need to be addressed as a priority. Firstly, to tackle the issue of capacity in UHL hospital, we need to start reopening all hospital beds closed during the austerity years in the region including those in Nenagh, Ennis, and St. John’s hospitals.
“Then secondly, in order to address the recruitment and retention crisis across all grades in the health service, the underlying difficulties causing this crisis have to be tackled. These issues are working conditions, facilities, supports, training opportunities, promotion opportunities, and pay.
“My colleague, Senator Gavan, last week highlighted in the Seanad some serious allegations made by staff at UHL surrounding alleged bullying, questionable hiring practices, and the privatisation of radiology and MRI services. Combined with the overcrowding, this hospital is clearly in a dire situation.”