Home » Breaking News » No improvement for patients in UHL, claim campaigners
Some of the people who braved the sub-zero temperatures in Ennis this week. Photograph by Mid-West Hospital Campaign

No improvement for patients in UHL, claim campaigners

HOSPITAL campaigners have claimed there is no major improvement for patients attending the Emergency Department in University Hospital Limerick (UHL), despite the HSE’s “expert intervention”.

Clare members of the Mid-West Hospital Campaign participated in a protest outside Ennis Hospital on Monday to highlight the crisis in ED unit. Similar demonstrations also took place in Navan, Drogheda, Cavan, Mullingar, Limerick and Nenagh.

The protesters read out some of the recent survey responses from the public following the initiative undertaken by the Mid-West Hospital Campaign.

Group member, Noeleen Moran told the Clare Champion they decided to go ahead with this protest, despite subzero temperatures because there is no progress being made to address the crisis at UHL.

“The Petitions Committee has not received a response from the Department of Health yet in relation to the group’s petition calling for the upgrading of casualty facilities in the region.

“The HSE’s response wasn’t even aware that the Deloitte report was already published and stated it would await its findings.

“UHL management’s response was to state their preference for a private elective hospital to be run by UPMC. The petitions committee will not now meet again until January 17,” she said.

Acknowledging the UL Hospitals’ Group’s Winter Plan plans to hire more doctors, she asked which winter it is planning for as there were 90 patients on trolleys in UHL on December 5.

She said the personal testimonies in the survey from patients who attended UHL are an “incredibly harrowing read”.

“It is evident from the Deloitte Report, HIQA Report and from this survey that the UHL ED cannot cope and quite frankly from the HSE’s response it is evident the situation in the Mid-West is not being taken seriously. All the reports point to the need for a Model Three hospital in the region,” she added.

The survey found only 20% of 369 respondents were satisfied or very satisfied, with 19.78% dissatisfied and 44.7% very dissatisfied.

The UL Hospitals Group has confirmed the ED at University Hospital Limerick remains busy, with high attendances of very sick people, particularly frail, elderly patients with complex conditions, and a marked increase in young children with respiratory illnesses.

Last week, daily attendances at the ED have averaged 243. By comparison, average daily attendances last year were 210. ED attendances totalled 76,473 in 2021, and this is projected to increase by 4% at the end of this year.

A spokesperson said UL Hospitals Group and Mid-West Community Healthcare have a number of joint initiatives to support patients, and reduce pressure on services by facilitating hospital discharges and delivering more care in the Community.

Under its Winter Plan, the group is pursuing additional non-consultant hospital doctors for the ED, additional radiographers to support early discharge, increase in discharge coordinators and patient flow coordinator at weekends as well as a Geriatric Emergency Medicine (GEM) Unit with additional OPTIMEND health and social care professionals such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work and nursing.

Delivering additional capacity in acute and community services will include the ongoing delivery of additional acute and community beds and increasing staffing capacity in line with the Safe Staffing and Skill-Mix Framework.

Alternative patient pathways will be implemented during the winter period to help reduce the number of presentations and admissions to hospital and improve patient flow and discharge. This includes Enhanced Community Care (ECC) supports.

About Dan Danaher

Check Also

Banner cruise to home All-Ireland quarter-final

In a wet and windy Cusack Park on Sunday afternoon Wayne Freeman’s charges delivered yet …