Protest Held Outside UHL During Health Minister Visit

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The Mid West Hospital Campaign group is to stage a protest outside University Hospital Limerick this morning as Health Minister Stephen Donnelly concludes a two-day visit to the hospital.

Mr Donnelly is understood to have visited the hospital complex last evening.  The protest is planned for 10.30am and the campaign group says they hope Minister Donnelly saw the extent of overcrowding at the hospital’s emergency department.  Mr Donnelly is scheduled to meet with the head of the HSE Bernard Gloster at UHL today.

The campaign group hope Minister Donnelly will engage with them during the visit as they continue to make the case for a reversal of the reconfiguration of the Mid West Hospital services implemented in 2009. The group say the closure of   emergency departments in Ennis, Nenagh, and St. John’s Hospital has been an unmitigated disaster. The decision means that one emergency department is expected to cover 425,000 people.

The group are also highlighting that when Simon Harris visited the hospital in 2017 as Health Minister he commented that something needed to be done about the level of overcrowding at the time – 47 patients – the number is now regularly over 100 patients on trolleys.

Limerick Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan is calling on the Minister to bring forward plans for an emergency response to the severe and persistent overcrowding at the Hospital. Deputy Quinlivan is highlighting that the hospital had the full capacity protocol in operation every single day in 2023 and continues to set records for the worst overcrowding in 2024.

This has led to the controversial decision by the HSE to put a private firm in charge of the newly built 50 bed Community Nursing Unit in Nenagh to provide step down beds for patients in UHL. This will delay by at least a year the provision of the long term beds for Nursing Home residents in the Nenagh area.

Unions at UHL say there are staff deficits of 200 nurses, 70 healthcare assistants and  a number of non-consultant doctor positions at the hospital.