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HEALTH Minister Stephen Donnelly has admitted he is concerned about the “significant risk” to patients attending the ED in University Hospital Limerick (UHL) which was identified in a recent report.

Health minister admits more staff needed to alleviate UHL issues

MORE nurses, doctors, allied health professionals and specialists are needed to help reduce chronic overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick, according to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

Minister Donnelly said it was really good to met healthcare staff in UHL recently including hospital porters, nurses, allied health professionals, doctors, management and patients.

The minister outlined he wanted to see first-hand what is working – because there has been a lot of investment in UHL – and what is not working.

“What I have seen is an incredible healthcare community, their professionalism, dedication and skill is amazing. We are very lucky to have such people.”

“However, it is also clear to me they are exhausted and stressed. They have been dealing with relentless pressure. I think our healthcare workforce during Covid-19 have been the very best of us.

“No sooner had we a reprieve from Covid-19, than we had record attendances at emergency departments, we have a lot of people with deferred care and unmet needs. We are seeing a lot of older people coming into the hospital with several conditions who have to receive the best care.”

He acknowledged more healthcare professionals are needed in UHL including nurses, allied health professionals, non-consultant hospital doctors and more specialists.

One of the things the minister pledged to do is to have this conversation with senior people in the Department of Health and HSE to see how they can build capacity in the public health care
system so the public in the Mid-West get access to the best possible care.

Asked about reports concerning a new elective hospital in Glanmire Cork and if this means there will be no similar facility built in Limerick, the minister outlined the national strategy for elective hospitals is they will be built in three areas – Cork, Galway and Dublin.

He confirmed finalised plans have been brought for new elective hospitals in Cork and Galway, but more time is needed developing the Dublin proposal.

He pointed out a lot of the work completed in Croom Orthopaedic Hospital is elective work.

“A lot of the conversations I had with healthcare professionals were around how useful it would be to have a hospital for elective care.

“A lot of the planned scheduled care gets disrupted by people who are coming into the Emergency Department in a serious way. More elective care like where we are in Croom is a very positive thing and is where we are going.

“I am aware there is a public private hospital proposal for Limerick and I know the HSE are engaging with that party on this. I am open to more elective capacity in Limerick and other places.”

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