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Protesters at Cork University Hospital Eimer Mc
overcrowding crisis

Protests take place against overcrowding at 17 hospitals

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Limerick to protest the high levels of overcrowding at UHL.

LAST UPDATE | Jan 21st 2023, 2:30 PM

A NATIONAL DAY of protest took place at 17 hospitals across the country today over the overcrowding crisis in emergency departments.

A march took place in Limerick this morning to highlight the crisis at University Hospital Limerick, the most overcrowded emergency department in the country and the only ED in the mid-west region.

The Health Information and Quality Authority, as well as staff at UHL have highlighted the pressure on the hospital’s ED over the past several months, particularly after a teenage girl died from meninigitis last month after allegedly spent a significant amount of time on a trolley.

An investigation into Aoife Johnston’s death is due to commence shortly, UL Hospitals Group Professor Brian Lenehan has stated.

Thousands of people took  to the streets in Limerick, with some protesters carrying photos of loved ones who have suffered from long waits in UHL or have died while waiting for treatment.

According to the INMO, 482 admitted patients were waiting for beds yesterday, with 367 patients waiting in emergency departments and 115 in wards elsewhere in hospitals.

RTÉ’s Mid West correspondent, Cathy Halloran, spoke to protesters in Limerick, with one woman saying:

“People are dying and people can’t take it anymore. I have kidney disease and I’m terrified anytime I have a pain to go to the hospital  because that’s where I’m going to be dumped and the last time I was there last May I spent three days on a trolley.”

“I think it’s just abysmal the way it’s gone,the A&Es need to be reopened, my mother was a statistic on a bed for weeks on end. It’s not fair on our older generation who are being let down,” another woman said.

Protests also took place in Navan today, where the HSE outlined controversial plans to implement a 24-hour Medical Assessment Unit to replace the emergency department in Our Lady’s Hospital Navan.

Cathaoirleach of the Save Navan Hospital Campaign Peadar Tóibín stated:

“People are incredibly angry and frustrated that the old and the sick have been treated horrendously. The experience of so many has been massively damaged by the lack of capacity is the ED system.”

“Much of this damage has been caused by the policy of closing EDs, beds and the lack of provision of doctors, nurses and consultants.

“We urge people to take a stand and send a message loud and clear that we will no longer tolerate this health disaster in our lives.”

With reporting by Eimer McAuley

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