UHL staffing levels described as horrendous

Nenagh Hospital. Photo © Tipp FM

A Tipperary woman has detailed her experience with her mother at UHL as “a nightmare”.

Louise told Tipp Today that since the closure of Nenagh’s A&E Department in 2009, caring for her mother has been made more stressful.

While commending the UHL staff for doing everything they can, she highlighted the severe lack of beds by telling Fran that her mother has been subjected to trolleys and chairs on multiple occasions and that the closure of the A&E in Nenagh is costing people more financially and that the distance to the regional is costing them their “lives.”

She recounted one experience of her 85-year-old mother’s stoma bag bursting in UHL and burning her skin, but that there were not enough staff to come to her aid.

“One of the times, her stoma bag burst. It was scalding the skin and there was nobody around that could deal with it. It’s so stressful for her and nobody can come near her, they’re so busy. It’s been a nightmare. A nightmare. It’s stressful on myself, as I would be the main caregiver. We don’t have any home help set up, although we have applied for it. It’s just horrendous.

“All I know is that, in the long run, the cost has been a lot more than closing it. They should’ve left it open. The cost is horrendous, both in terms of finances and in terms of lives. It’s been very trying on people having to, instead of going to Nenagh, having to shlep all the way to the regional when there are perfectly viable facilities in Nenagh to deal with a lot of things.

“Everyone has had to deal with those consequences of closing Nenagh and Ennis A&E. They know they shouldn’t have closed them.”

Louise added that anytime her mother is unwell they worry as the automatic response is to “ferry” her off to UHL, despite having been allocated trolleys and chairs over beds in the past.

As her mother’s main caregiver, Louise says that the system is broken and that the burden needs to be lifted from people by implementing accessible healthcare in Ireland.

She spoke of her mother’s career as a nurse, where she spent some time working in Nenagh Hospital, and said that current healthcare circumstances had reduced her 85-year-old mother to “a number on a sheet.”
“She’s scared to death if she gets sick again. The automatic movement will be to the regional. I think it was last year, five or six times she went into hospital, and I think five of those times it was straight into the regional on her own in a room full of people in the same boat.

“My mum was a nurse. She worked in Whipps Cross in London, she’s worked so many places, she worked in Nenagh Hospital as well. In my view, it’s sad that somebody who has given so much to the community over the years has come to the fact that she’s just a number on a sheet. People deserve better treatment than that.

“It’s sad and it’s wrong that we don’t change it. We have the power to change it. The system as a whole is completely broken.

“There’s too much pressure going on. We need a burden to be lifted, and I think a big part of that burden would be if we had a way more accessible healthcare system.”