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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 2°C
James Horan/Photocall Ireland

Limerick Hospital emergency department "not fit for purpose"

HIQA also found that there were problems admitting children to adult units.

Updated 10.53pm

THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT at University Hospital Limerick poses a number of risks to patient safety, a new report has found.

The review by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), says that continuous overcrowding at the department is a concern.

The report of the review of the governance arrangements at UL Hospitals found “a clear willingness to change and improve services for the public”, but added that the absence of a statutory governance framework is hindering the development of strong governance and patient safety functions.

HIQA director of regulation Phelim Quinn said that the review highlights a number of patient safety risks in the hospital group which must be addressed as a priority.

The single most significant risk identified by the HIQA review was the serious delays and risks for patients and staff due to persistent overcrowding in the Emergency Department of University Hospital Limerick in Dooradoyle (previously known as the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick).

“HIQA believes the conditions experienced by patients attending the Emergency Department in University Hospital Limerick are unacceptable,” said Quinn.

“The Department was overcrowded and not fit for purpose; this resulted in significant compromises in maintaining adequate levels of environmental cleanliness, and increased risk of Healthcare Associated Infections, impeded access to patients for care and observation, and severely reduced patients’ privacy and dignity.”


Concerns were also raised about the admission of children to adult wards, despite there being an unopened children’s area in the hospital.

The authority also noted that there were delays in transferring patients from the emergency department to the intensive care and high dependency units and that the absence of a single clinical governance structure for the management of the Intensive Care and High Dependency Units contributed to this.

First published 12.17pm

Read: HSE boss: We never asked parents to prove children still had lifelong conditions

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