Taoiseach to highlight midwest hospital overcrowding with HSE and Minister

Taoiseach Micheál Martin Photo © Tipp FM

The Taoiseach says he’ll ask the HSE and Health Minister to look into commissioning an independent inquiry into hospital overcrowding in the midwest.

The request was made by Clare TD Michael McNamara in the Dáil this afternoon, in light of record overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick.

The INMO says that 111 patients are on trolleys there today, one fifth of the national total.

UL Hospitals Group says surge capacity has been opened there, and they’re asking people to consider all alternative care options before attending the Emergency Department.

Here’s what Micheál Martin had to say this afternoon:

“I do believe there are issues around capacity more generally around the western seaboard, the Saolta group and also more specifically in terms of Limerick. That can’t get solved overnight but there have been moves on that front.

“But you have raised a wider issue which I do think merits further examination. And what I’ll do is ask the HSE and the Minister to pursue that.”

Full UL Hospitals Group statement – Wednesday January 26th, 2022

[LIMERICK | JANUARY 26th, 2021] The Emergency Department (ED) at University Hospital Limerick is busy today managing high attendances of very sick people with a variety of complex illnesses, including COVID-19, and the public is being advised to consider all alternative care options before attending ED.

People with less urgent complaints are advised to expect long delays at the ED today, and to first consider our Injury Units, GPs, out-of-hours GP services and pharmacists before attending ED, which continues to experience high presentations.

We are working to ensure that care is prioritised for the sickest patients, and as part of our escalation plan, additional ward rounds, accelerated discharges and identification of patients for transfer to our Model 2 hospitals are all underway. We have also opened surge capacity to manage the extremely high levels of activity.

In the 24 hours to 8am this morning, 251 people presented at ED. Since the start of the year, the average daily ED attendances at UHL has been 226. On all weekdays this month, attendances at the department have exceeded 200, with the highest attendances, 265, recorded this Monday and on January 18th. This is far in excess of the 195 average daily presentation figure in the last full year pre-pandemic (2019), and continues a trend experienced in the Mid-West over a number of months.

At 8am this morning there were 73 admitted patients waiting on trolleys for an inpatient bed. These patients were in the Emergency Department, our medical and surgical assessment units and, in line with our escalation plan, on the general wards. All other admitted patients waiting for a bed were appropriately accommodated in designated clinical spaces, including single rooms and single cubicles. In line with our escalation plan, we have also opened surge capacity to manage extremely high activity levels.

In UHL today, there are 61 COVID-positive inpatients being treated in the hospital, of whom 5 are receiving critical care. We also continue to manage a COVID outbreak in the hospital that is affecting a number of inpatient wards, increasing demand for isolation beds and impacting on patient flow. High incidence of COVID-19 in community, including outbreaks in nursing homes, is affecting our capacity to discharge/transfer patients whose acute episode of care has concluded. Delayed transfers of care are above average.

We are reminding members of the public that our Injury Units are open seven days a week, including bank holiday Monday. Injury Units in Ennis Hospital and Nenagh Hospital are open from 8am to 8pm and St John’s Hospital from 8am to 7pm. For full contacts for the units, and the services available there, please see: https://www2.hse.ie/services/injury-units/

We apologise to patients who are experiencing long waits for an inpatient bed at UHL as a result of the significant demands on our service.