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Team established in response to ‘pressure’ on UHL emergency department

By Reporter - 30th Apr 2024

University Hospital Limerick

A support team has been established to help address the current pressures on health services in the Mid-West region.

According to a statement from the Department of Health, the team will begin work immediately and over the next four weeks to help devise a number of actions designed in particular to ease crowding and pressures in the emergency department at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).

The team comprises:

Ms Grace Rothwell, HSE National Director;

Ms Orla Kavanagh, Director of Nursing and Integration at Waterford University Hospital ; and

Dr Fergal Hickey, retired Consultant in Emergency Medicine.

On the morning of Tuesday 30 April, there were 65 people waiting on trolleys in UHL, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Association, which was the highest figure in the hospitals nationwide.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said: “I’m concerned about the ongoing pressures on health services in the region, which are seen particularly in the emergency department at University Hospital Limerick.  We need to provide re-assurance to the people of the Mid-West region and address the very serious pressures on the services. While a number of interventions have been made, I have spoken to the Chief Executive of the need to address this situation immediately. The support team should deliver an improvement for patients quickly.”

HSE CEO Mr Bernard Gloster said: “The HSE is conscious of the pressures in various hospitals regarding the number of patients on trolleys awaiting admission. This is recognised by the HSE as a key safety concern and a variety of ongoing assurances are necessary in such situations.  

“While challenged in a small number of sites we are particularly so in Limerick at this time.  Patient flow involves the whole of the health service and we are using our own internal mechanisms to support the Mid-West region for the next number of weeks. This support team will now work with the Regional Executive Officer and her team in Community Healthcare, Public Health and UL Hospitals to manage patient flow and de-escalate the current pressures being experienced.”

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