It’s feared that patient care is being compromised, and that lives are being put at risk, by record levels of overcrowding in Irish hospitals this week.
80 patients were left waiting for beds at University Hospital Limerick yesterday, following a surge in patient attendances, but that number has dipped to 58 today.
However, it remains the highest of any hospital in Ireland.
Overcrowding hit record levels yesterday with 714 patients on trolleys across the country, 80 of them at University Hospital Limerick.
In response, the HSE has cancelled all non-urgent surgeries, while the Health Minister has announced 5 million euro for for home care packages.
Trolley numbers have dipped today, but despite this, the region’s main hospital remains the most overcrowded in the country.
There were 58 patients waiting for beds at the Dooradoyle facility this morning, 34 of those are on trolleys in the Emergency Department.
The UL Hospitals Group has said that high volumes of patients have been attending over the past number of days, many of those elderly with complex care needs, while the ongoing flu outbreak is continuing to compound the situation.
But the INMO says evidence-based research shows that overcrowding of this nature can lead to death in some cases.
The union’s Midwest Representative Mary Fogarty says it’s dangerous for both staff and patients.
Clare’s Independent TD claims not enough is being done to solve the crisis, saying the Health Minister, Simon Harris is talking the talk but not walking the walk.
Dr Michael Harty believes people are now choosing to stay at home and take their chances, rather than face lengthy trolley waits.
The UL Hospitals Group has appealed to the public to consider all care options before presenting to the Emergency Department, including the MAU and Injuries unit at Ennis General Hospital.