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Fine Gael TD Joe Carey waiting on trolley at University Hospital Limerick since Saturday

Overcrowding at UHL has been an ongoing issue in recent months.

0719 Brexit & border report Fine Gael TD Joe Carey Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

FINE GAEL TD Joe Carey has spent the past two nights on a trolley at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) after being admitted on Saturday evening. 

In a tweet this afternoon, Carey said he was admitted to the hospital on Saturday evening by ambulance from his home after experiencing “a period of about 30 minutes” when he “just couldn’t breathe”. 

“This never happened before and there is a battery of tests lined up for me,” Carey said. 

“It appears to be an infection in my lung which is ironic, as I had given up the cigarettes 26 days ago today,” he said. 

The TD said he is “getting great care despite being on a trolley”. 

He said he wanted to thank “all the nurses, doctors, porters, catering and cleaning staff for their kindness and help”. 

“The ambulance crew were simply amazing and I can’t thank them enough for their professionalism and care. Hopefully I’ll be out and about before too long,” Carey said. 

A total of 525 admitted patients were waiting for beds in hospitals across the country this morning, according to the INMO. 

There were a total of 77 patients waiting on trolleys in UHL, of which 33 were in the Emergency Department and 44 were elsewhere in the hospital. 

Overcrowding at UHL

Overcrowding at UHL has been an ongoing issue in recent months. 

On 3 January, a “major internal incident” was announced as UHL became overhwelmed with patient numbers. 

The downgrading of Ennis Hospital, as well as other similarly sized hospitals in Limerick city and Nenagh, has been highlighted by doctors and health campaigners in the Midwest as the key factor behind the overcrowding.  

Reconfiguration of the region’s hospitals over a decade ago saw the A&E wards closed in Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s Hospital in Limerick City, partly due to safety concerns surrounding these smaller hospitals.

A pilot project to help alleviate the overcrowding at UHL got underway on 9 January. 

Patients in the midwest region are now being brought directly to Ennis Hospital instead of them waiting on a trolley at UHL.

The service will operate from 8am to 8pm but is not open to the public in general – a referral is required. Paramedics will transport patients to the unit until 6pm. 

Patients will need to meet criteria and any transfers will be done in consultation between the paramedic and a consultant at the hospital.

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