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26 Jun 2022

Tipperary TD says urgent action is needed to solve problems at regional hospital

Tipperary TD says urgent action is needed to solve problems at regional hospital

Tipperary TD says urgent action is needed to solve problems at regional hospital

The first of three reports into the much publicised issues at University Hospital Limerick prove beyond doubt that urgent action is needed from both a patient and staff perspective, according to Deputy Michael Lowry.

"The findings in this report come as no surprise. I have raised this matter consistently in the Dáil and through the media and I will continue to do so until a satisfactory outcome is achieved," he said.

"UHL recently broke records for having the highest number of triaged patients waiting for beds since records began. The current situation cannot be allowed to continue and endless reports will only serve to prove that fact," he said.

The recent report comes following an unscheduled inspection by HIQA. ‘

"It paints a damning picture and the issues outlined will not be overcome without the procurement of additional bed capacity and staff numbers," said Deputy Lowry.

The key message from this report was that UHL, as it currently stands and despite significant investment, cannot cope with the huge area it serves and the health needs of the population in its catchment area, said the Independent TD.

"The hospital is currently taking a number of short-term actions in an effort to alleviate problems. But these actions are not providing the long term solution that is clearly and urgently needed," he said.

The Thurles-based TD said that staffing and staff retention was a huge issue. The current nursing staff deficit in the Emergency Department is 14 whole-time equivalents (WTE). Staff were being deployed from other areas in the hospital to work in the ED. Full-time Emergency Department staff were burnt out and exhausted.

A recent publication by the Minister for Health of the Framework for Safe Nurse Staffing And Skill Mix in Adult Emergency Care Settings has prompted the chief director of nursing and midwifery in UL Hospitals Group to make a submission to the HSE for UHL to be the first hospital in the country for the implementation of the framework.

A further submission has been made to the HSE seeking funding to apply the Framework, as it relates to nurse staffing in medical and surgical wards, to admitted patients waiting in Emergency Departments.

UL Hospital Group says that the implementation of the framework would see a significant  improvement in nurse staffing levels and patient experience in the UHL Emergency Department. 

"This would be a proactive move," said Deputy Lowry, "but until additional staffing and bed capacity are put in place the problems at UHL will continue. The issues have been identified. Now urgent action is required."

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