Wednesday, 25 September 2019
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Hospital Accommodation Provision
It is quite clear that the situation at University Hospital Limerick is intolerable. There were 81 patients on trolleys last Monday, the joint highest number ever. That figure was also reached in April and July and we are not even close to the winter which people are dreading. I want ministerial and Government responsibility to address this issue to be taken, first to acknowledge that there is inequality in the allocation of resources for the mid-west region. Deputy Kelly gave the figures today during Leaders’ Questions. The region is under-resourced for the provision of beds and staff across the spectrum. That needs to be acknowledged and addressed. When the numbers of staff were increased in recent months, the region did worse than others which are much better resourced. That has to be acknowledged, accepted and acted on. Owing to the embargo in effect on recruitment, although the Minister described it this morning as control measures, there are 100 nursing posts unfilled, as well as several doctor and ancillary posts. It has come to my attention this week that there are people employed as home helps who are waiting to have their contracts renewed, while others who have been interviewed have not been told that they will offered work. There are patients who could leave hospital if they received support at home and get out of beds which are urgently needed in the emergency department. All beds in the region should be opened and staffed, including in geriatric and lower tier hospitals. Wherever there are beds, they should be opened and resourced to take the pressure off University Limerick Hospital. We are talking to people in their eighties. What they are going through in the emergency department is intolerable. A second MRI scanner which is urgently needed should be provided. We should have progress in providing the 60-bed modular unit and the 96-bed unit. We need all of these actions urgently.