Patients Urged To Avoid ED At Region’s Main Hospital Unless It’s An Emergency

University Hospital Limerick emergency department

The UL Hospitals Group is urging to people not to attend the ED at the region’s main hospital unless they’re in need of emergency intervention.

The level of overcrowding has spiralled at University Hospital Limerick once again this morning, with more than 70 patients left waiting for beds there this morning.

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The latest INMO figures show 71 patients were left waiting on trolleys at UHL this morning, 42 of those in the emergency department alone.

The UL Hospitals Group says the ED has been experiencing high numbers in recent days – On an average day, there will be 197 attendances in the ED but there were 228 on Monday, 226 on Tuesday and 211 on Wednesday.

Today, there were 44 delayed discharges across UL Hospitals Group, which is about twice the average level.

Management say the hospital is facing additional pressures, with a number of beds blocked for necessary infection prevention and control measures and ongoing control measures relating to to accessing transitional care and home care package funding.

They’re urging people to attend their GP in the first instance and to utilise the local injury unit at Ennis General Hospital where possible.

Statement from the UL Hospitals Group

The ED has been experiencing high numbers of presentations in recent days. On an average day, there will be 197 attendances in ED but this number reached 228 on Monday, 226 on Tuesday and 211 on Wednesday. The hospital is facing additional pressures with a number of beds blocked for necessary infection prevention and control measures and ongoing control measures in relation to accessing transitional care and home care package funding which has contributed to a rise in delayed discharges. Today. there are 44 delayed discharges across UL Hospitals Group, which is about twice the average level.

UL Hospitals Group regrets that any patient experiences long waits in the ED and the distress and inconvenience that such extended waiting times have caused for patients and their loved ones.

Bed capacity at UHL remains considerably below that of comparable hospitals in Ireland. 455 inpatient beds is not sufficient for the needs of the MidWest region. Over the past 12 months, bed capacity at UHL has increased by five.

Construction has commenced on a 60-bed block at UHL, which we expect to open in Q4 of 2020. With an estimated total capital cost of €19.5m, this is a significant project for the Midwest that will begin to address the acknowledged shortfall in bed capacity in UL Hospitals Group.

The ED at UHL has designated spaces for 49 patients.  Admitted patients waiting for a bed are often in single rooms or designated bays. A number of these patients will have en suite facilities to meet their IP&C needs.

Measures are ongoing to relieve pressure on the UHL Emergency Department. We continue to work with our colleagues in the community to progress transition of appropriate patients to the community, and to maximise the use of beds available across the sites of the Hospitals Group.

Local Injury Units (LIUs) at Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s Hospitals are open for treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns. In 2018, Injury Unit presentation totalled 32,244 or 31% of all ED attendances, and attendances at the LIUs increased by 6% on 2017 (30,424).

UL Hospitals Group reiterates its appeal for the public to use the Emergency Department for emergencies only, and to consider all care options before attending the ED. People should first attend a GP or an out-of-hours GP service, where they can be referred to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.

The Hospitals Group’s Local Injury Units at Ennis Hospital and Nenagh Hospital are open 8am-8pm every day, and at St John’s Hospital in Limerick from Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm.

However, if you are seriously injured or ill, or are worried that your life is at risk, the ED will assess and treat you as a priority.