Over the past five years, University Hospital Limerick (UHL) has been the most overcrowded hospital in Ireland, with the most people waiting for a free bed year-on-year.
Figures from the Irish Nurse and Midwives Organisation (INMO) show that out of all patients being treated on trolleys, in waiting rooms, on chairs or whenever there is space across acute hospitals, UHL is consistently the worst.
Over 1,350 patients were recorded by the INMO in November 2021. This was an increase of over 300 from UHL’s 2020 figure for the same month.
Overcrowding in hospitals increases the risk of spreading infection and, at UHL, is making compliance with physical distancing a challenge, according to a recent inspection report by Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).
The same report stated that insufficient bed capacity at the hospital and in the wider region was a contributing factor to this overcrowding. Yet, in spite of around 100 extra beds opening by the start of 2021, the hospital has become more overcrowded.
HELP US INVESTIGATE
We want to investigate the historic and current overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick and attempt to decipher why - even with more beds opening - it remains on the top of the trolley table.
By speaking to patients and healthcare workers, we will examine the impact this is having on people living in the region and the treatment they receive.
Finally, we will look into what the Government and other authorities are doing to address this ongoing crisis.
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