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Concern about ‘delayed’ approval of nursing posts for new UHL block

By Catherine Reilly - 23rd Jun 2024

UHL

Delayed approval of derogated posts for University Hospital Limerick’s (UHL) first 96-bed block was raised by the Hospital Group’s executive management team in February.

At a meeting on 14 February, Mr Declan McNamara, Chief Director of Nursing and Midwifery at University of Limerick Hospital Group (ULHG), highlighted the delayed approval of posts derogated from the recruitment embargo and “concern that nursing staff would not be in post for Q1 2025”.

The meeting minutes were obtained by the Medical Independent (MI) under Freedom of Information law.

UHL has consistently had the highest number of people waiting on trolleys for admittance to a hospital bed in the country. In April, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced “new measures to alleviate overcrowding” at the hospital.

He stated he had asked for recruitment for the first new 96-bed block to commence in 2024 for “immediate readiness” in 2025.

“I have mandated that all steps are taken to accelerate the second 96-bed block to be built here at UHL, having sanctioned enabling works for that project last year. Those works have begun,” he stated.

Among other measures, the Minister also asked for a targeted campaign at UHL to increase the number of consultants on the public-only consultant contract.

A ULHG spokesperson told MI: “Recruitment continues at pace, both locally and internationally, and panels of various nursing grades continue to be formed. On-boarding will take place in line with the opening of the first 96-bed block. Work commenced on this block in September 2022. It is currently envisaged that the construction phase will be complete by Q1 2025.”

“Once handed over by the contractors, the new build will need to be equipped and commissioned and staff trained following the completion of the recruitment campaign. We anticipate that this much-needed additional bed capacity for the mid-west will become operational in mid-2025.”

The spokesperson added: “It should be noted that of the 96 beds in this facility, 72 will be new bed stock, and 24 replacement beds for older bed stock in Nightingale ward areas of UHL that are in line for refurbishment.”

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