HIQA Report into UHL demands crisis response

02 May 2024

Labour’s Limerick Mayoral Candidate Cllr Conor Sheehan has said the HIQA report into UHL A&E is an absolute disgrace and requires urgent response.

Cllr Sheehan was speaking after the report found patients ‘still at risk of harm’ in the UHL Emergency Department given the persistent overcrowding and the length of time it takes to see and treat patients.

Cllr Sheehan said:

“This is a damning indictment of the Government’s failure of the people of Limerick and the Midwest. In 2009 when Fianna Fáil and the Green Party closed the A&E’s in St John’s Ennis and Nenagh, we were promised a centre of excellence and instead we got a death trap.

“The Minister’s announcement of a special SWAT team to tackle overcrowding at the facility will not make an iota of difference unless it comes with a staffing component. We know there are over 200 unfilled posts that cannot be filled unless the recruitment ban is immediately lifted. How has the Minister allowed this to persist? We also know that there have been over 700 cancelled operations since January of this year alone. This beggars belief.

“What is the point of an €8 billion surplus if people in the Midwest are suffering because they cannot access emergency care in a timely fashion. Labour believes Government must commit to the need for an additional Model 3 hospital in the Midwest, i.e. a hospital with a second A&E Department, a Medical Assessment Unit and an ICU. UHL is a Model 4 hospital and is the only one in the region without a corresponding Model 3 hospital.

“This is the second HIQA report which was highly critical of the ED and described conditions as ‘inhumane’ and nothing has changed since that first report.

“The Government have completely abandoned people in the Midwest. We’ve heard from people in Limerick that they are terrified of going to their local A&E and are delaying attending UHL unless unavoidably possible when sick.

“We need urgent action now.”

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