Modular Unit At UHL Expected In 2019 After Appeal Withdrawn

Unisveristy Hospital Limerick
Photo © Pat Flynn

Clare’s Junior Minister has expressed confidence that a new 60-bed modular unit aimed at alleviating overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick will be up and running next winter.

Pat Breen has today confirmed that an appeal lodged against the multi-million euro facility has been withdrawn, paving the way for the temporary development to push ahead.

However, the UL Hospitals Group says it isn’t in a position to say when construction may begin and therefore cannot give an estimated delivery date.


The announcement has been welcomed by a Clare member of the HSE’s Regional Health Forum West.

University Hospital Limerick has long since suffered some of the highest levels of overcrowding in the country, but plans to provide a 60-bed modular unit to help alleviate the problem ground to a halt last month.

An appeal was lodged by a Dooradoyle resident against a decision by Limerick City and County Council, which granted permission for the 14 million euro development.

It’s been confirmed today that the appeal has been withdrawn, paving the way for the temporary building to go ahead.

It will take another year to come to fruition and Clare’s Junior Minister Pat Breen says it will make a huge difference.

A Clare member of the HSE’s Regional Health Forum West has welcomed progress on the plan, saying it will improve conditions for both patients and staff.

But Barefield Independent Councillor Ann Norton says mistakes of the past are still having an impact on people here, something she says should be acknowledged by the HSE.

Plans are progressing, meanwhile, on a separate 96-bed unit at the Dooradoyle facility aimed at alleviating long-term overcrowding issues.

But earlier this week, Junior Health Minister Finian McGrath confirmed that construction on that unit won’t begin until 2021 at least.

Statement from the UL Hospitals Group

60 bed block:

Permission has been being granted for the proposed extension to the existing hospital to provide a new 60 bed ward block at University Hospital Limerick. At the moment we are not in a position to advise when development works might start. UL Hospitals have submitted this proposal as a bed capacity initiative and are hopeful that additional capital funding can be allocated by the Department of Health to fund the proposal. A timeline for the delivery of this project will be established when confirmation is received regarding the allocation of capital funding to proceed. It is expected the development phase would take 12 months.

96-bed block

The HSE are 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.

As previously stated, 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 but no commencement date for the construction of this project has ever been announced. There has therefore been no delay in the process.

ED/winter planning:

Winter Planning has been underway for several months and we are working with the HSE and our colleagues in HSE Mid West Community Healthcare to ensure preparedness for winter.

The plan includes the development of admissions avoidance pathways for specific Emergency Department presentations (e.g. specific respiratory conditions, pulmonary embolism); the opening of a 19-bedded Medical Short Stay Unit in the old Emergency Department at UHL; expansion of critical care capacity with the opening of two new critical care beds; expanded service of the Acute Surgical Assessment Unit UHL over the winter period; and the redevelopment of one medical ward in Nenagh Hospital (16 single rooms and 4 semi-private rooms) allowing for better infection prevention and control and inter-hospital transfers.

To help protect our patients, flu vaccination clinics for staff commenced in UHL this week with almost 450 staff having been vaccinated in the first three days. Flu clinics for staff commence in Ennis and the other hospitals next week and we urge all members of the public, especially at-risk groups, to get the vaccine.

Other measures being taken to relieve pressure on the ED and as part of our escalation policy includes the transfer of suitable patients to other hospitals within our group; the transfer of appropriate patients to community care settings and maximising access to Homecare packages and Transition care; working closely with Community Intervention Teams to provide antibiotics and other appropriate care in a patient’s home or care facility and communication with GPs to ensure patients are referred to ED only where appropriate. In addition, scheduled procedures are reviewed as we prioritise inpatient beds for those patients waiting in the ED or requiring urgent scheduled care.

UL Hospitals Group also urges members of the public to use the Injury Units in Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s Hospitals for appropriate injuries and not to attend the Emergency Department in UHL unless necessary. Injury Units are open in Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday and 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday at St. John’s Hospital. Injury Units are for the treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns that are unlikely to need admission to hospital. Information on your local Injury Unit is available on the HSE website