The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published a report of its inspection of the emergency department at University Hospital Limerick which was unannounced and completed on March 15th some three months ago.
HIQA found the hospital to be partially compliant with one standard and non-compliant with three standards assessed on the day of inspection. Findings included: demand for services exceeded the emergency department’s capacity and was a major contributing factor to overcrowding, there was ineffective patient flow and decreased inpatient bed capacity significantly contributed to overcrowding , nurse staffing levels were insufficient, which was having an impact on the safe provision of care at the time of inspection. In addition, inadequate nurse staffing levels had been a regular problem over the preceding weeks, the overcrowded and understaffed emergency department posed a significant risk to the provision of safe care. HIQA also found that the dignity, privacy and confidentiality of patients attending and receiving care in the emergency department not satisfactory.
HIQA stated that it was not assured that the hospital: had enacted measures to sufficiently manage overcrowding in the emergency department and the related patient safety risks posed by overcrowding nor does the hospital have adequate measures in place to address the issues of ineffective patient flow, insufficient nurse staffing levels and prolonged waiting times, all of which contributed to the overcrowding of the emergency department.
HIQA says it raised it’s concerns with the hospital management and the HSE and sought assurances that the hospital and wider region would be effectively supported to make substantial changes to address capacity shortages. The hospital has submitted a compliance plan in response to the inspection findings, outlining its short, medium and long-term actions to address the non-compliances. HIQA will continue to monitor issues in the hospital’s emergency department.
Today the INMO reports that there are – 78 patients experiencing delayed admission in University Hospital Limerick – 41 patients are on trolleys while a further 37 patients have been accommodated in some ward of the hospital by adding extra beds.