Thursday, 18 November 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
I acknowledge the 98 additional beds that have gone into UHL. Some 60 modular beds, for which I campaigned over a long period of time, are in place. However, that 60-bed ward is being used as a Covid unit. It is not being used for that which it was really intended, which was to relieve the existing pressures in UHL. We have 49 patients in UHL with Covid. That is in the top three in the country. We are the top hospital in Ireland in terms of trolley waiting lists.
I believe in trying to manage a situation, rather than being reactive at the end, when it gets very difficult to deal with. When these major warning signs are appearing and 95 people were on trolleys two days ago which is, thankfully, down to 58 today, now is the time to allow UHL apply for funding under the €30 million put aside under the winter plan for acute hospitals, to alleviate the pressures on the recruitment of staff. I acknowledge, once again, the phenomenal work of the nursing and medical staff and management and everyone working there and trying to deal with a very difficult situation.
However, the facts speak for themselves. We have a crisis in terms of the number of patients presenting with Covid in UHL. That needs to be acknowledged by the HSE, Government and the Department of Health. Commitment from Government is now required in order that UHL can look to get these additional resources to get over the winter period, such as the recruitment of staff including junior doctors and other areas, to ensure we can get over these critical winter months and to get the tender through on the 96-bed block and get the building under way. However, a major crisis is presenting that we have to get through in the next number of months and that is under the winter plan. Can we get a commitment from Government that UHL can make that application and that it will work with UHL to deal with this major problem of overcrowding and Covid patients?