Trolley crisis: Limerick hospital has escalated its response to overcrowding
University Hospital Limerick (UHL) has reduced elective surgical activity and increased ward rounds with a view to identifying patients suitable for transfer/discharge as part of a range of escalation measures to manage a considerable surge in patient attendances and admissions at the hospital since the weekend.
The latest available data shows that in the 24 hours prior to 8am this Monday, a total of 183 patients had attended the hospital’s Emergency Department (ED). This is significantly above the norm for a Sunday.
"We regret that any patient has to wait on a trolley for admission. This is not the level of service we wish to provide but we want to reassure the public that every effort is made to move patients to a bed as soon as possible," the hospital said in a statement.
The ED at UHL is one of the busiest in the country, and the unusually high volume of patients has prompted hospital management to appeal to the public to use the ED only for emergencies only. All surge capacity identified under the hospital’s escalation plan is currently being used for admitted patients.
Measures being taken to relieve pressure on the ED and as part of its escalation policy include 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.
The number of admitted patients waiting in the ED as of 2pm on Monday, November 25 was 37.
Additional measures are being put in place in the coming weeks under the Winter Action Plan for the MidWest being jointly implemented by UL Hospitals Group and HSE MidWest Community Healthcare