Thursday, 28 November 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I want to bring up the issue of University Hospital Limerick. I know my colleagues in Limerick have raised it already this week but I had a public meeting on this issue last Monday and I would like to share some of the facts Members may not be aware of, while calling for a debate on the issue. The staff there told me that day that there was a new record of 85 patients on trolleys and they predicted that the number will go over 100 this winter. They were certain of that. They also told me that of the €26 million winter fund for hospitals in this State, University Hospital Limerick received the princely sum of €500,000. That is completely inadequate for the emergency that is there. I remind Members the emergency protocol has been operated there every day for the last two years. I have to ask how it can be with Fine Gael in government and with plenty of Fine Gael representatives in Limerick that a pittance of €500,000 was allocated to University Hospital Limerick when everyone here knows the depth of the crisis.
I also want to give Members examples of the incompetent management in the hospital, something I have been raising in here for years. For example, a person may turn up at the accident and emergency department, where an MRI scan is deemed to be required. Such a person is told he or she will be put in a hospital bed and that he or she can leave at 10 a.m. each morning once he or she is back at 8 p.m. that evening, because otherwise there will be a two-year wait for the MRI scan. Then we wonder why beds are blocked. That is management practice. A nurse who wanted to reduce her hours from 39 hours to 30 hours was told there was no way that would be allowed. As a result she resigned her post, came back in as an agency worker two weeks later to do her 30 hours per week but now the State picks up the tab. Again, that shows a complete lack of cop-on in management. Fine Gael has had nine years to deal with University Hospital Limerick. We consistently break records there. It has been a catalogue of failures. I have called for change in management and for the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, to intervene. The Minister has dodged my colleague, Deputy Quinlivan, and he does not want to come in and answer questions. I am calling for a debate and I am calling for honesty in that debate because Members of the House all know about what I am sharing here. These practices happen throughout the health service. They just happen to be worse in Limerick than anywhere else. It is time for the catalogue of failures to end, it is time for the Minister to intervene and it is time for people in Fine Gael to hold up their hands and accept they have failed the people of Limerick miserably with University Hospital Limerick.