The level of overcrowding at the region’s main hospital is almost three times higher than any other facility in the country.
The latest INMO figures show 54 patients were left waiting for beds at University Hospital Limerick this morning, 34 of those in the emergency department.
The overall figure is 35 more than the next busiest hospital and comes on a day when 129 patients have been left waiting for beds at hospitals across the country.
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UL Hospitals Group has issued the following statement:
We regret that any admitted patient faces a long wait time for a bed. Patients continue to receive expert medical care while they do wait.
Surge capacity is currently open at UHL and consultants are currently carrying out additional ward rounds as we seek to identify patients suitable for transfer/discharge as part of a range of escalation measures.
Measures being taken to relieve pressure on the ED and as part of our escalation policy also include the transfer of appropriate patients to community care settings and maximising access to homecare packages and transition care; working closely with Community Intervention Teams to provide antibiotics and other appropriate care in a patient’s home or care facility and communication with GPs to ensure patients are referred to ED only where appropriate.
At the outset of the pandemic, we established new care pathways to separate suspected and confirmed covid-19 patients from non-covid patients. For many weeks now, patients presenting at ED have been streamed accordingly, with query and confirmed covid-19 patients being assessed and treated in the Emergency Department while non-covid patients are brought to the relevant assessment unit in UHL.
While ED presentations decreased during the peak, this decline was not as marked in UHL as elsewhere and our numbers have rebounded more rapidly. While our elective activity remains significantly reduced, ED presentations have in recent days been above pre-crisis levels, averaging over 200 per day. Many patients who avoided coming to hospital or seeing their GP during the pandemic are now sicker as a result and will require a longer stay in hospital. This is adding to current service demand.
A number of construction projects are underway that will add a total of 122 single room inpatient beds at UHL and at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital. These include:
– 60-Bed Block UHL; due to open November 2020
– 24-Bed Block UHL; due to be handed over August 2020
– 14-Bed Block UHL; due to be handed over July 2020
– 24-Bed Block Croom; due to be handed over August 2020
In addition, the Intermediate Care Facility opened in the UL Arena on Monday, June 8th. This was initially staffed to accommodate up to 20 patients. As of 8pm on Friday, June 19th, there were 20 patients in the ICF. We continue to gradually increase the staffing complement and number of patients in the ICF on Wednesday, June 30th stood at 30.
This is a 68-bed facility with the ability to further increase to 84. It will be open until September 2020 with an option to extend to November 2020. The ICF is suitable for non-Covid or post-Covid patients who need ongoing care and who would benefit from further rehabilitation before discharge.
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