Health Minister Criticised For Response To Hospital Overcrowding

Unisveristy Hospital Limerick
Photo © Pat Flynn

A former Mayor of Ennis has criticised the Health Minister for his response to the rising levels of overcrowding at the region’s main hospital.

It comes as new figures from the INMO show University Hospital Limerick had the highest ever level of overcrowding of any hospital in the country for the month of January.

Today alone, 51 patients are without a bed at the Dooradoyle facility – once again the highest figure nationwide.


The INMO’s latest trolley-watch figures have shown there were record levels of overcrowding across the country last month.

Just over one thousand people were left waiting for beds at University Hospital Limerick – a 26% rise on the same month last year and the highest ever figure recorded for the month of January at any hospital in the country.

Nurses are now calling on the Health Minister to fast track the promised increase in hospital beds.

But General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha is warning that extra capacity has to be backed up with extra staff, and extra pay.

The Health Minister meanwhile, has suggested that a lower number of weekend discharges within the UL Hospitals Group could be contributing to overcrowding here.

Minister Simon Harris has appeared to shed light on management issues within the local hospitals group that have been alluded to in recent weeks.

In a Clare FM interview, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stated that while the government would fund a new 96-bed critical care unit at Dooradoyle, this would be contingent on unspecified improvements.

Minister Harris has told the Seanad that more capacity is needed, but so too are other changes.

But a member of the HSE’s Regional Health Forum West has hit out at the Health Minister saying that while she hopes improvements will be made to allow for the new unit, she’s lost faith that it will become a reality.

Former Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Ann Norton says it’s time Minister Harris starts taking the overcrowding crisis seriously.