University Hospital Limerick: unannounced visit by fire officer
A Tipperary county councillor has welcomed the move by Limerick's chief fire officer to intervene in conditions at University Hospital Limerick 's Emergency Department.
Limerick Fire Services carried out an unannounced inspection of the facility earlier this week after 85 people were left waiting on trolleys. The maximum permitted under the hospital's fire laws is 78, but this does not include ambulant patients who are waiting in either the main waiting area or any of the sub-waiting areas within the ED.
As a result of the fire officer's visit, some patients were moved out of the ED to a Surgical Assessment Unit between midnight Tuesday and 1am Wednesday, which was confirmed by the HSE.
Cllr Seamus Morris told TipperaryLive.ie he was delighted that the fire chief decided after being contacted by him to take action at the Emergency department of UHL.
Cllr Morris said that he was aware that management at UHL was hoping that the 96-bed modular unit will alleviate the situation, but said that whether it was ready today or next year there still was the problem of the public service embargo which had strangled recruitment.
"I want to commend the staff that day after day, hour after hour go to work in such horrific conditions. They are true heroes," said Cllr Morris.
The Independent councillor, who is based in Nenagh, blamed the "failed ideology of this and previous governments" for making conditions so bad in public hospitals that they will be forced to "beg, borrow and steal" to seek private medical help.
"The answer is in front of us: reopen Nenagh, Ennis and St John's 24-hour A&Es," he said.
Cllr Morris asked if anybody would have the guts to admit they were wrong with the reconfiguration of health services in the Mid West.
"While there have been massive improvements in many parts of our health service, our emergency services have become dangerous for workers and patients alike," he said.
Cllr Morris asked the fire chief in Limerick to carry out a full safety audit of the ED at University Hospital Limerick.
Meanwhile, Mary Fogarty, Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) described the overcrowded conditions in the Limerick ED as “unsafe” for both patients and staff.
She said that the INMO welcomed the fire officer’s intervention.
This FRiday, there was a toal of 57 people waiting for a bed in Limerick, with seven on trolleys in Nenagh Hospital.
There were 25 in South Tipperary General Hospital, 32 in University Hospital Waterford and 21 in St Luke's in Kilkenny.
This means that out of a total of 568 on trolleys countrywide, some 142 were in hospitals serving Tipperary patients.