Thursday, 23 June 2022
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
I thank the Minister of State very much. I welcome that the HSE, at a national level, and the Minister requested that the performance management improvement unit move to assist and to work in partnership with the management, the nurses and medical staff at the hospital. We must see results for the people and patients of Limerick. We cannot have a situation where we have people on trolleys for an inordinate length of time. It is very distressing for them and their families. UHL provides a very good service, but we are at the point now where we have to see the numbers on trolleys coming down. I welcome the fact that they are down to 63. That is still way too high but it is moving in the right direction.
We must also, as part of the work being done by the performance management improvement unit, ensure that the capacity of the other hospitals in the group is being used to the optimum. I refer here to St. John's Hospital, Ennis Hospital, Nenagh Hospital and Croom Orthopaedic Hospital. The hospitals in the group must work very much in the context of a partnership model. We must also see that diagnostics are used properly and ensure that if people are coming to the hospital, they will be seen within a reasonable timeframe. We must also ensure that if people need to be admitted to inpatient beds, they will be admitted within a reasonable timeframe.
These are short-term measures, and that is why officials from the performance management improvement unit needed to be deployed to the hospital. The assistance that is needed at corporate level in the hospital is also there and is working with local management, medical, nursing and other staff.
In the medium term, planning permission has been obtained for the 96-bed acute block and a preferred bidder has been selected. That project should proceed to construction immediately. This 96-bed acute block will be located on the existing site. We then need to look at an elective hospital for our city and the region in general. Cork and Galway have already got such facilities. This matter was covered in the original Sláintecare proposal. It now needs to be looked at by the Government in the context of consistency and equality.
The people I represent in Limerick, the mid-west and north Tipperary deserve the same level of service as is available elsewhere in the country. This is not the case and it needs to be corrected.