Hospital Apologises As Trolley Number Remain At Near-Record High At Dooradoyle

University Hospital Limerick emergency department

The UL Hospitals Group says it sincerely regrets the long waits being experienced in the Emergency Department at the region’s main hospital and the distress it’s causing to patients and their loved ones.

The level of overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick remains high today, although the figure of 75 patients awaiting admission is a slight improvement on yesterday.

Its led to calls for clarity from the INMO on measures being taken to alleviate the crisis, while one former Clare TD is calling on Clare’s Dáil representatives to pull their support for Government until the crisis is dealt with.

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Trolley numbers reached record-equalling levels yesterday, when there were 81 patients waiting for a bed at dooradoyle, and today, that number has only dipped slightly to 75.

The latest INMO figures show there were 43 patients on trolleys in the ED alone, with the remaining 32 being accommodated in overflow areas of wards.

Unsurprising,ly, it’s the highest figure in Ireland, to the extent that it accounts for nearly one-fifth of all patients awaiting admission to Irish hospitals.

The nurses union says it’s asked for clarification on a number of issues from management including whether outpatient clinics have been cancellled to redeploy staff to the ED and whether consultants are carrying out more rounds.

INMO Midwest representative Mary Fogarty wants all elective appointments to be cancelled.

The UL Hospitals Group says there’s been a surge in patients at the ED in recent days, with many frail elderly patients attending, with complex medical conditions.

As part of the hospital’s escalation policy, patients are being transferred to other hospitals within the group and to community care settings, and access to Homecare packages and Transition care is being maximised.

People are being urged to consider all their care options, including their GP or GP out of hours service, and the injury unit at ennis General Hospital.

But former Clare TD and Councillor James Breen says the current situation isn’t good enough and he’s calling on Clare Dáil representatives Pat Breen and Joe Carey to pull support for Government until the situation is resolved.

A member of the HSE’s Regional Health Forum West thinks the call is unfair though.

Whitegate Fine Gael Councillor Pat Burke believes people should be heeding the advice from medical professionals and staying away from the ED unless they’re in need of emergency medical attention.

He’s also welcomed progress on the 60 bed modular unit, which the HSE confirmed this week is on track to be completed by mid-2020.

ULHG Response – UHL Emergency Department – 4.15pm, July 12th 2019

UL Hospitals Group would like to sincerely apologise to patients facing long waits in our Emergency Department (ED) during busy periods, and for any distress or inconvenience this is causing to patients and their loved ones.

The ED at UHL continues to be one of the busiest in the country. There has been a surge in presentations to Emergency Departments this week.

We have been working hard to progress patients through the system to discharge, so that we can free up beds for the patients in the ED who are awaiting admission.

Surgery at UHL has been curtailed over the last number of days to enable us to use that bed capacity for patients in the ED.

Access to transitional care and home care package funding has been reduced over the past two weeks, which has led to an increase in delayed discharges.

However, we continue to work with our community colleagues to progress transition of appropriate patients to the community where possible.

Clinics in the Out-Patients Department (OPD) continue to operate as normal, given that these patients do not impact on in-patient beds.

UHL is providing full care to all patients who are waiting in the Emergency Department. The enhanced infrastructures of the new ED enable us to accommodate a number of these patients in single rooms while in the department.

We are maximising the use of the beds available across the group, and we have been moving patients on a daily basis to these sites.

UL Hospitals Group is appealing to members of the public to use the Emergency Department for emergencies only, and consider all care options before attending the ED at UHL. People should attend their GPs, or out of hours GP service, in the first instance, and they can be referred to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.

Local Injury Units are open in Ennis and Nenagh hospitals from 8am-8pm every day, and in St John’s, 8am-6pm Monday to Friday. However, if you are seriously injured or ill or are worried your life is at risk, please attend the ED, where you will be prioritised.

We are keeping GPs up to date on the latest situation regarding the Emergency Department.