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UHL’s new 96 bed block will only deliver 48 additional beds - SF Midwest Representatives

19 January, 2022 - by Violet-Anne Wynne TD

University Hospital Limerick are in the process of tendering for the development of a new four-story 96 single bed acute inpatient ward block extension at their main campus. Tenders are due to be returned by the end of the month.

In response to a parliamentary question submitted by Deputy Wynne, the CEO of UL Hospital Group has confirmed that roughly half of the beds will be used to replace older bed stock.

Midwest Sinn Féin representatives have expressed concern that this will not be enough to offset the serious and consistent overcrowding at UHL.

Teachta Wynne said:

“University Hospital Limerick is the only Model 4 hospital in the state that is expected to meet the needs of such a high-volume of people.

“It has a catchment area of nearly 400,000 people and has been over-crowded for years on end.

“The new beds are only part of the problem, as when there is an announcement of additional capital funding in the budget or national development plan – there is no automatic corresponding current expenditure attached to it. Which means the Government announce 96 new beds, pat themselves on the back and pose for the photo opportunity. But in reality only half of these beds are additional – the rest are replacement and, there’s no commitment by the Government to adequately staff and resource these beds.

“Unfortunately, this will not be enough to resolve the historic overcrowding issue at UHL.

Tipperary Sinn Fein TD Martin Browne said: 

“Again the people of North Tipperary are being failed through a lack of investment in the services that they need.  Disguising the reality of an under-resourced health service through creative narratives is a disservice to the patients in need, and indeed, to the staff who have to deal with the pressures caused by inadequate resources.”

Limerick TD Martin Quinlivan said:

“The Irish Patients Association have been recording the trolley numbers across all Irish hospitals over successive months and UHL has consistently ranked among the worst.

“Embarrassingly, and what many people don’t understand is when there is a capital allocation made in a budget, that allows for a building or structural development to be funded, there isn’t a corresponding amount of current expenditure enabling the service to be staffed and resourced.

“This means projects take excessively long amounts of time to come to fruition between announcement and delivery, with all of the delays involved in tendering, constructing and recruitment.

Senator Gavan said:

“The fact that the 96-bed block was announced in 2020, but in reality, will be 48 additional beds 3 years down the line exposes how sluggish and inefficient change is in the country."

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