Fears Perfect Storm Facing Hospitals This Winter Can’t Be Prevented

Fears have been expressed that the “perfect storm” facing the health service this winter can’t be prevented.

The IMO has estimated that trolley numbers will reach one thousand over the coming months, as a lack of emergency department resources, beds and recruitment combine to create what a Lahinch GP has described as a predictable crisis.

It comes as a decision on funding for the new modular unit at University Hospital Limerick hangs in the balance.


The Irish Medical Organisation is warning that our hospitals face another chaotic winter, which will put even more pressure on our health service.

The organisation says a lack of emergency department resources, a lack of beds and a lack of recruitment will combine to create a “perfect storm”.

The IMO also believes those accountable will hide behind terms like ‘flu crisis’ or ‘winter crisis’, rather than accepting the situation as a failure of policy.

Lahinch GP, Dr Michael Kelleher, who’s on the IMO’s GP Committee, believes it’s impossible to reverse decades of under investment ahead of the winter, but he insists that work must begin now to improve services into the future.

Just over 400 people were left waiting for a bed in hospitals nationwide today, with University Hospital Limerick the busiest in the country once again.

55 patients were waiting on trolleys at the Dooradoyle facility this morning, 32 of those in the emergency department.

General Secretary of the INMO Phil Ni Sheaghdha says more resources are desperately needed to tackle the ongoing trolley crisis.

Meanwhile, Two Clare TDs have outlined a list of measures which they say are required at University Hospital Limerick, in order to ease overcrowding.

Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley and Fine Gael’s Deputy Joe Carey, both told the Dáil that they recently attended a briefing by hospital management.

They sought funding to allow for the opening of ten additional beds, increased theatre capacity, 24-7 surgical and medical assessment units, and also the money to allow for the construction of a 60-bed modular unit at Dooradoyle.

The matter was raised with Junior Minister Catherine Byrne, who gave no firm commitment, except to say that preparation and planning for the upcoming winter is well underway.

Deputy Timmy Dooley says it’s vital the government steps up and looks to address pressures in the local hospital system, while Joe Carey is confident the project will be given the go-ahead in the near future.