Seanad debates

Tuesday, 5 March 2024

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


1:00 pm

Photo of Róisín GarveyRóisín Garvey (Green Party) | Oireachtas source

Today, yet again I raise the issue of trolley numbers in UHL. It is not the first time for me, Senator Dooley and many other colleagues to raise this issue. I do not know if it is because we are so far from Dublin or what is going on, but we have the worst trolley numbers in the country by far. It is an old news story yet it is making the news again today. The hospital can take no more patients with more than 140 of them on trolleys. I have been on those trolleys a couple of times for nights on end. People are losing their lives because they are on trolleys. People are getting stressed out to the point that their ailments are becoming even worse.

I do not know what the Minister proposes to do, but we need to use our time here in the Seanad to call for an improvement in this. Ninety new beds are coming online, but we need more staff. He knows better than I do what is needed. I know we are the only region without a model 3 hospital, which definitely plays its part.

We closed the accident and emergency department in Ennis and we were promised we would get everything else instead. We have only one new primary healthcare unit in Ennis. I am constantly asking the Department when we will get the one in Ennistymon, east Clare and west Clare. No timelines have been given on any of them. What are we going to do? People are dying on trolleys every day in Limerick as a result of the Government's failing to sort this crisis out once and for all. It has been solved in other regions and why it cannot be solved in Limerick is beyond me.

We need to do more for the people. People are afraid of getting sick and having to go into the accident and emergency department in Limerick. We now have much better services in Ennis, but it is only 12 hours a day. After that people have no choice but to go to Limerick. Old people, especially, are very nervous about it. I spent a night on a trolley in UHL. I spent the whole night going around giving blankets and water to old people because they were not even getting those basic things. It is absolute chaos down there. I have been to hospitals in India where the situation is not as bad. This is a rich first-world country. Why do we have more than 140 people on trolleys in Limerick? What will the Minister do about it? We have to call this out.

I urge people in the other surrounding counties, Limerick and Tipperary, to make this call as well. Nenagh has also suffered but not to the extent of Clare because we have no choice but to go to UHL. In Tipperary there are other places where people can go. We need a model 3 hospital or we need the accident and emergency department reopened and we need our primary healthcare centres prioritised. I know we are far from Dublin, but we are a very proud people and we deserve the same services as everyone else in Ireland.


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