University Hospital Limerick (UHL) has reported its highest ever figure of patients waiting on trolleys today.
This comes after it was revealed that last month UHL had the highest trolley figure for the country in October 2021.
Currently 95 patients are waiting on trolleys; 69 are waiting in the Emergency Department and a further 26 are in various other wards.
Numbers have not been this high since 92 trolley patients was reported in January of this year.
The UL Hospital Group released a statement this evening in which they said:
“We apologise to all patients who are facing long wait times for a bed at University Hospital Limerick.
“The hospital remains under severe pressure as a result of sustained, record-breaking activity levels at our Emergency Department and a surge in Covid-19 activity over the last number of weeks.”
Rising admission figures
Whilst the number of patients presenting to the hospital has been rising over the last few weeks, with an average of 241 presenting to the Emergency Department, that number has jumped to over 270 in the past 24 hours (in comparison to the 195 average in 2019).
Yesterday UHL had 45 Covid-19 positive inpatients, 13 of which was receive ICU care. The Hospital group accredits the trolley figures to the “Covid outbreak in the hospitals inpatient wards.”
On their plan to reduce the numbers of patients waiting on trolleys, the group outlined:
“We continue to follow our escalation plan, which includes use of surge capacity, undertaking additional ward rounds, accelerating discharges, and identifying patients for transfer to our Model 2 hospitals.
“However, many patients currently admitted to UHL are sicker and with more complicated conditions, and require longer inpatient stays to recover.
The hospital group is urging members of the public to pursue other available care options and only presenting to the Emergency Department after exhausting all other care units.
Opposition to HSE winter plan
Limerick County Labour Councillor Conor Sheehan has spoken out against the Hospital Groups plans to elevate those waiting on trolleys as outlined in their public statement and the ‘Winter Plan’ recently released.
Sheehan, as well as the Irish Medical Organisation, has branded the plan as an “inadequate” solution to the overcrowding problems being faced in the hospital. Councillor Sheehan stated that:
“It’s only the second week of November and we have now recorded the highest number of people waiting on trolleys at University Hospital Limerick.
“UHL is consistently the most overcrowded hospital in the country. This is not acceptable, and it demands attention from this government.
“What is needed now is a bespoke plan to deal with the severe overcrowding which much include additional staff to protect these patients.
“The situation is now so serious that my fear is that this shameful record will be broken in the coming weeks as Covid, winter flu and RSV continue to spread.
“The winter plan announced by government yesterday will not be enough. There’s great talk of additional beds but there is no point in increasing capacity if we don’t have the healthcare assistants, nurses and doctors to care for the patients in them.”
Councillor Sheehan further urged that the government and Minister Donnelly particularly, need to “create a new bespoke tailored plan for UHL that is Covid-proofed.