CEO Of UL Hospitals Group Emphasises Importance Of Slaintecare Reforms To Local Healthcare

University Hospital Limerick emergency department

The CEO of the UL Hospitals Group has warned that trolley numbers will continue to climb at the region’s main hospital, until the current health system in Ireland is changed.

Collette Cowan says she is expecting a busy winter in the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick, following high levels of overcrowding over the summer months.

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Over the past number of months, trolley numbers remained consistently high at University Hospital Limerick, with overall levels over for the first half of the year 18% higher than in the same period in 2018.

The latest INMO figures show there were 56 patients on trolleys there this morning, 36 of those in the Emergency Department.

The UL Hospitals Group has put the summer overcrowding down to a number of factors including high patients attendances, while, there was an increase in delayed discharges after a directive across the health system to curb budgets.

During a wide-ranging interview on Clare FM’s Morning Focus, CEO of the UL Hospitals Group, Colette Cowan said she’s expecting a busy winter ahead.

But she has moved to reassure the public by saying there are plans are in place.

There have been ongoing calls for Ennis General Hospital to be utilised more to help ease the overcrowding crisis and Collette Cowan says plans are in place to improve services.

Within the next five years, a new outpatients clinic will be completed, while a feasilbility study is currently underway with the aim of building new theatres to enhance patient care.

Ms Cowan, who has recently been re-appointed in her role for a further five years, insists they are making headway in recruiting nurses and consultants across the hospital group, with 53 contracts offered to nurses in the past month, and 8 consultants.

However, she’s also stated that a significant overhaul of the health service is needed to help imrpove the situation here.

The Slaintecare plan proposes radical change to the delivery of healthcare in Ireland, and Colette Cowan has said its implementation is important for the region.