Nurses want concern over Limerick A&E addressed

Nurses have expressed serious patient safety concerns ahead of next week’s move to the new emergency department at University Hospital Limerick.

Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, who work in the hospital’s old ED, are insisting that their concerns must be addressed before the planned move takes place.

The INMO only found out on Monday that HSE management intended having a minimum of 24 admitted patients on trolleys and recliner chairs in the new ED.

It said that the plan sought to embed, forever, the unacceptable concept of admitted patients on trolleys.

“This is not progress for patients or nursing staff and is a retrograde approach as the opportunity for the new facility to reach its full potential cannot be realised.,” the INMO said.

The INMO wants the old ED to be turned into a separate area for patients. Management said it has not rejected any proposal on this issue from the INMO or anyone else. The organisation also expressed concern about the skill mix in the new unit, particularly the lack of staff with an ED qualification available to work in it.

There were 23 patients on trolleys in University Hospital Limerick yesterday, according to figures published by the INMO.

St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny, had the highest number in the country, with 44. It was followed by University Hospital Galway that had 38.

The INMO counted a total of 438 admitted patients on trolleys, more than the 356 counted by the HSE.

The health authority pointed out that 179 patients were waiting more than nine hours, with 42 waiting more than 24 hours. According to the HSE, the number of patients on trolleys was up 41% on the same day last year when there were 252, with 91 waiting over nine hours.

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