Patients Left On Trolleys Treated Worse Than Prisoners – Murphy

University Hospital Limerick emergency department


The UL Hospitals Group is apologising to a Clare woman who says she was left on a bed at the region’s main hospital for five nights.

A statement on the case of Deirdre Nugent also goes on to say that shower access is available to all patients on wards; while Ms Nugent says she had no shower access while she was on a trolley.


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.

See the statement in full below


On Monday last, Ennis woman Deirdre Nugent fell and injured her head and was rushed to University Hospital Limerick for treatment.

On admission, she was put on a trolley in the Emergency Department, where she remained for two nights, before being moved to a trolley on a ward for the following three nights.

Despite hher injuries, it wasn’t until Saturday that Deirdre was transferred to a bed in a ward.

She’s still in the hospital today, awaiting further tests, and speaking from her bed on Clare FM’s Morning Focus, Deirdre described the conditions she was faced with.

Her experience has led to serious concern about how the Dooradoyle facility is being managed, as well as its capability to deal with the traditional winter influx of admissions to the ED.

Kilkee Fianna Fáil Councillor Cillian Murphy, who is a member of the HSE’s Regional Health Forum West, says the situation is mind-blowing.

Response From The UL Hospitals Group

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.