654 admitted patients are waiting for beds in the nation’s hospitals according to today’s INMO Trolley Watch. There are 5 admitted patients on trolleys in Clonmel hospital and 6 in Nenagh hospital. University Hospital Limerick(UHL) is the most overcrowded with 110 admitted patients on trolleys today.
Overcrowding at UHL was raised in the Dáil last night under the topical issues part of the Dáil timetable. Limerick TD Maurine Quinlivan expressed disappointment that Minister Stephen Donnelly did not attend and is accusing the Minister of dodging discussions on overcrowding. Overcrowding that the hospital reached new record numbers of 132 last October – a figure that was also reached on Monday last.
The Dáil heard that overcrowding in UHL in January 2024 is already worse than the whole of the month of January 2023.
Minister Jack Chambers responded that ED attendances in UHL have increased by 12% increase on the pre-Covid figures in 2019 with more than 1,000 additional patients needing to be admitted. The 2023 attendance figures for patients aged 75 or over increased by 30% compared with 2019, leading to admissions of elderly patients increasing by 1,600.
Minister Chambers also highlighted that the new Pathfinder service, which enables a response to some 999 calls to be delivered in a way that will not bring the patient to the ED automatically, dealt with 517 patients , 54% of whom were supported at home without the need to go to the ED.
Deputy Quinlivan expressed concerns that although health authorities forecast that 200 beds are needed to bring UHL up to the national average, the Government plans for only 48 beds in the next two years and is seeking planning permission for 96 additional beds.