Extra Staff Included In Winter Plan To Address UHL Overcrowding

University Hospital Limerick emergency department

The CEO of the UL Hospitals Group says assuring that there will be additional staff on hand this winter to deal with an expected influx of overcrowding, but admits conditions at Dooradoyle will remain challenging.

The group, along with HSE Midwest Community Healthcare, has launched its €550,000 Winter Plan, to tackle the traditional rise in admissions over the Christmas period.

Colette Cowan has also rubbished a call from Clare’s Fianna Fáil TD to appoint an external manager for UHL.


With an all-time high of 85 on trolleys at University Hospital Limerick last week, overcrowding continues to prove a major headache for management at the hospital.

That figure has since eased – it stands at 53 today – but the threat of long queues looms, with the busiest time for A&Es just around the corner.

Speaking on Clare FM’s Morning Focus today, CEO of the UL Hospitals Group Colette Cowan outlined a number of measures in their new Winter Plan that will help.

One of them is extra staffing.

The plan includes €550,000 across the hospitals group and in Community Healthcare in the MidWest.

It also includes a new MRI service at University Hospital Limerick, a reduction in elective procedures over Christmas and a focus on reducing the numbers of patients who face delayed transfers of care

In the community sector, there will be additional home support hours, as well as aides and appliances, and a mobile doctor and additional triage nurse to support ShannonDoc’s Out of Hours GP service.

Chief Officer of HSE Midwest Community Healthcare Maria Bridgeman admits that on the ground services aren’t up to scratch but is urging people to make use of them and avoid the ED where possible.

Meanwhile, the issue of overcrowding at UHL has again been raised in the Dáil.

There, last evening, Clare’s Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley said an outside manager should be appointed to the hospital, reporting directly to the Minister, in order to bring about change and improvement.

However, Colette Cowan has shrugged off that suggestion and says it wouldn’t get to the root cause of the overcrowding issues facing UHL.