Overcrowding at UHL to be investigated by HIQA

University Hospital Limerick. Photo:© P Flynn

HIQA is to carry out inspections of the Emergency Department at UHL.

The authority will work with hospital management to address the overcrowding issues at the Mid-West facility.

Yesterday of the 480 people on trolleys in the country’s hospitals 67 were in University Hospital Limerick.

The hospital – which serves North Tipp, Limerick and Clare – was once again the most overcrowded in the country.

Recently Clare TD Michael McNamara called for an independent inquiry into this issue at the hospital, and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that HIQA has received an evaluation of the current factors influencing crowding from the Hospital Group CEO.

Despite the provision of an additional 38 inpatient beds and the anticipated delivery of a 96-bed replacement ward block, the problem of overcrowding has worsened rather than improved.

Concerns were raised over HIQA’s limited remit as they would not be able to put forward such recommendations as the upgrading of Ennis, Nenagh or St. Johns to Model 3 Hospitals.

There were calls for outside expertise to form part of the delivery of any future strategic plan.

Minister Donnelly says as part of their escalation plan, additional ward rounds, accelerated discharges, and identification of patients for transfer to UL Model 2 hospitals are all underway.