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‘Patients being ferried from A&E to wards to mask overcrowding figures’, claims former councillor

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Members of the Mid-West Hospital Campaign have claimed management at University Hospital Limerick are trying to mask the problem of overcrowding in the accident and emergency unit by ferrying patients to already packed wards throughout the hospital.

Tuesday was the busiest day in Irish hospitals this year with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) stating 679 patients were on trolleys across the country. UHL was top of the list with 63 individuals on trolleys,

Former Limerick City Councillor, Mary Cahillane attended Monday’s meeting of the Mid-West Hospital Campaign at The Old Ground Hotel. She was informed by a staff member at A&E in Limerick of the current methods being applied by management which she maintained showed the campaign was “rattling” management.

‘They are sending three trolleys up to each ward now once 120 people are in A&E. It used to be two. It is a disgrace because there are no facilities for these patients not even an extra screen. We heard the 120 figure mentioned on Wednesday night, we never heard it before, it used to be two trolleys per ward after 6am then no trolleys would go up until after 9,’ the worker outlined.

‘I have never seen so many discharges on the wards I cover, the turnover of patients during the week is unreal the past few weeks. Before this campaign started, patients would be on the ward for months and nowhere to move them on, now they are doing be moved on pronto, to where I don’t know because many of them couldn’t fend for themselves. As soon as those beds are empty, A&E is emptied and the whole cycle starts again’.

Cahillane stated, “Our campaign is having an affect but all they’re doing is moving trolleys faster into the wards. The patients aren’t being looked after any better but the numbers are coming down, that is directly as a result of our campaign. What we need is to keep the pressure up and ensure more money and more funding is put in there so the three A&Es are reopened to make sure we get a decent health service that we deserve”.

SIPTU’s Ger Kennedy said Mary’s information was “one hundred percent correct”. Staff have also relayed their concerns on the matter to him. “The person who gave Mary information with regard to trolleys on wards is one hundred percent correct, as a means of masking the situation in A&E, trolleys are now being put on wards three at a time, increasing the workload of staff on the wards. It also has a detrimental effect on the rest of the services being provided”.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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