Limerick hospital's €25m emergency department unable to cope with demand

Limerick hospital's €25m emergency department unable to cope with demand
Professor Colette Cowan

The chief executive of University Hospital Limerick, Professor Colette Cowan has admitted that the €25 million emergency department opened just 18 months ago is not able to cope with the numbers coming through its doors.

The hospital’s emergency department is the second busiest in the country she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, and while service has improved since the opening of the new facility there remains an issue with bed capacity.

Patients who have been treated in the emergency department frequently then remain on trolleys awaiting beds in the hospital.

Professor Cowan pointed out that all beds in the hospital are open.

Plans are under way to change methodology to increase bed capacity and at present the plan is to look at other pathways for patients.

“We are trying to get patients discharged early, this is a system wide problem,” she explained.

Prof Cowan said that the earliest the bed capacity can improve would be in 12 months with plans for a new 60 bed block.

Under the Government’s 2040 Programme there are further plans for a 96 bed unit.

Limerick hospital's €25m emergency department unable to cope with demand

Winter planning for the hospital began last May, she added.

“We sit down in early May and write up plans. We don’t schedule operations for early January.

"We deliberately slow down so we can just focus on emergency services.”

The extra funding announced this week in the HSE’s Winter Plan is very welcome she said and will be used to increase services such as emergency theatre access.

Prof Cowan said she was proud of the hospital’s staff and their performance which had resulted in low re-admission rates.

More on this topic

Redundancy plan to trim overstaffed HSERedundancy plan to trim overstaffed HSE

Sepsis is a bigger killer than heart attacks, lung cancer or breast cancerSepsis is a bigger killer than heart attacks, lung cancer or breast cancer

Almost 200 HSE staff suffer serious physical assaults by patients since January 2018Almost 200 HSE staff suffer serious physical assaults by patients since January 2018

Drug testing kits give false sense of security says head of HSE’s Addiction ServicesDrug testing kits give false sense of security says head of HSE’s Addiction Services


More in this Section

Four men due in court in connection with Mayo burglaryFour men due in court in connection with Mayo burglary

Charity highlights ‘1,000% rise’ in homeless families each monthCharity highlights ‘1,000% rise’ in homeless families each month

House prices barely rise with Dublin values fallingHouse prices barely rise with Dublin values falling

‘Whitey’ Bulger involved in shipment of weapons for IRA, programme claims‘Whitey’ Bulger involved in shipment of weapons for IRA, programme claims


Lifestyle

Brian Caliendo owns and runs Liber Bookshop on O’Connell St, Sligo, with his wife Ailbhe Finnegan.We Sell Books: ‘I can get it on Amazon, but I prefer to get it from ye’

Dylan Tighe’s overdubbing of a classic tale of depravity to give it an Irish context is one of the most interesting offerings at Dublin Theatre Festival, writes Alan O’Riordan.Classic 120 Days of Sodom redubbed for Irish context

Marian Duggan was in her 20s and could not imagine that her symptoms could be so serious, not even when a tennis-ball-size cyst was removed from her left ovary, says Helen O’Callaghan.'I thought I was too young to have cancer'

Yvonne Young, group assistant director of nursing, University of Limerick Hospitals Group and National Sepsis TeamWorking Life: Yvonne Young, group assistant director of nursing

More From The Irish Examiner