ULHG Apologises To Patient Over Long Wait For Bed

University Hospital Limerick emergency department

The UL Hospitals Group has apologised to a patient who was left waiting on a trolley for 5 days at the region’s main hospital, and any patient facing long waits.

Deirdre Nugent from Ennis, yesterday spoke out about her experience at University Hospital Limerick, after being admitted for a head injury on Monday last week and only being transferred to a bed on Saturday.

In a statement to Clare FM, The UL Hospitals Group says such long wait times for a bed are not the level of service that management or staff working there wish to provide.

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Hospital management is reassuring the public that every patient in the ED continues to receive expert medical care and every effort is made to make their stay as comfortable as possible.

ULHG Response:

We apologise to Ms Nugent and to any patient who faces long wait times for a bed. For reasons of patient confidentiality, it would be inappropriate to comment further on individual patients.

Such long wait times for a bed are not the level of service we or the staff working in UL Hospitals Group wish to provide. However we want to reassure the public that every patient in the ED continues to receive expert medical care and every effort is made to make their stay as comfortable as possible.

The Emergency Department (ED) at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) is one of the busiest in the country and has been experiencing high numbers of presentations, including many frail elderly patients.

Bed capacity at UHL remains considerably below that of comparable hospitals in Ireland. Work on the €19.5million 60-bed ward block is underway at UHL and it is envisaged these beds will be operational for winter 2020. The 60-bed block project will help us begin to address our acknowledged deficits in bed capacity but further work is needed.

In that regard, the HSE are also working towards appointing a design team for the new 96-bed acute ward block in University Hospital Limerick and funding is included in the HSE’s Capital Plan to progress the design phase. Design tenders are currently received and are being reviewed in line with public procurement regulations. The award of a public works contract to develop the ward block would be subject to capital funding availability. The 96-bed block is committed to in the Project Ireland 2040. 

The WTE (whole-time equivalent) staff ceiling, including for nursing staff, is kept under constant review. Approximately 100 additional staff– including 30 nurses and 15 healthcare attendants – were recruited with the opening of the current Emergency Department in May 2017. In addition, 12 whole-time equivalent nursing staff and 1 clinical nurse manager have been subsequently recruited specifically to care for admitted patients in the ED. Staff may also be redeployed to the ED as required.

A shower is available to patients in ED. Staff will also make the necessary arrangements to attend to the personal care, including hygiene, needs of less mobile or more vulnerable patients. Personal care packs are also made available to ED patients for their hygiene needs.

Showering facilities are available to all patients on wards.