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Harris to raise issue of 'significant discrepancy' in trolley count at meeting between INMO and HSE

There were 81 patients waiting on trolleys at University Hospital Limerick according to the INMO.

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Image: PA Archive/PA Images

HEALTH MINISTER SIMON Harris is to raise the issue of a “significant discrepancy” in trolley count figures at a meeting between the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and the HSE tomorrow.  

During this morning’s 8am count at University Hospital Limerick (UHL), the HSE said it counted 39 patients waiting for a bed on trolleys at the hospital. 

However, the INMO count, which was carried out at the same time, counted 81 people waiting on beds – more than twice the HSE’s figure. 

A spokesperson for Harris said he will raise the issue of a “significant discrepancy” between both parties’ figures at a previously planned meeting tomorrow. 

“The Minister is meeting with the HSE and the INMO tomorrow,” she said. 

There is a significant discrepancy between HSE and INMO figures in Limerick today. HSE figures show there are 39 people on trolleys in Limerick. The minister intends to raise this as an issue.

“In terms of capacity, a 60-bed modular unit has been funded in Limerick and works are now underway,” she added. 

The INMO said its figure of 81 patients on trolleys was the highest ever recorded in a single Irish hospital on any given day and warned staff are under pressure.

“This comes less than a week after a 17-bed ward in UHL was shut. The beds that have been closed in UHL need to be reopened immediately,” Mary Fogarty, INMO Industrial Relations officer said. 

“Staff and patients are under intolerable pressure in Limerick today. This is the worst-ever figure we’ve recorded in an Irish hospital.

“We are calling on the Minister to intervene and deal with the chronic overcrowding in the hospital as an urgent matter of patient and staff safety.”

Full capacity

Sinn Féin TD for Limerick Maurice Quinlivan said he was aware of elderly patients who were forced to sleep on trolleys last weekend as the hospital continues to run at full capacity. 

“When they first opened a new emergency department in Limerick, it was predicted at the time that there would not be enough beds or staff to cope with what would come in,” he said. 

“And that’s the case now,” he added.
I know a 94 year-old woman who spent the weekend on the trolley with a broken hip.

“So I would ask the minister to come down to Limerick with the Oireachtas members because this is a real crisis here.”

Meanwhile, earlier this week, a status ‘black’ was declared in Cork University Hospital (CUH) after it was operating beyond full capacity. 

Ambulances reportedly lined up at the emergency department for hours before they could offload patients, while Tánaiste Simon Coveney admitted there was a problem with capacity.  

“I accept that today there is a huge stress on the system in the hospital and the management are responding to that as best they can,” he said in the Dáil chamber on Tuesday. 

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