Lowry: Report on UHL review must be made public

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A Tipperary TD has asked for clarification on the terms of reference for the expert team appointed to investigate chronic overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick.

Deputy Michael Lowry raised the issue in the Dáil where he highlighted the threat to patient safety.

In particular the Thurles TD spoke of the situation there last week which saw a record 126 people being cared for on trolleys.

“What are the terms of reference for this expert team? Will they engage with the nursing staff, the GP’s of the region, the ambulance service?

“Will they engage with and listen to the traumatic experiences of patients?

“It is imperative that they examine and indicate the additional supports and facilities that should be provided at Nenagh, Ennis and St John’s Hospitals to alleviate pressure on UHL.

“I would ask would they also examine the need for step down beds and Taoiseach in the interest of transparency the outcome of this inquiry should be made public.”

In reply the Taoiseach said extra beds are key to resolving the overcrowding issue at University Hospital Limerick.

Micheál Martin pointed the record volumes of patients are presenting at UHL – up 10% in the first quarter of this year compared to 2019.

“The hospital is working to ensure that care is prioritised for the sickest patients and as part of their escalation plan additional ward rounds, accelerated discharges and identification of patients to transfer to UL Model 2 hospitals are all on the way.

“UHL is working with HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare to formalise a governance structure to deliver on the investment in Community Care, hospital avoidance, chronic disease management in older persons.

“There are further plans for Limerick including the provision of a 96 bed ward block at UHL – the award of a works contract was approved by the HSE on the 25th of March.”