A protest is set to take place in Limerick city later this month to highlight a record number of people on trolleys at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).
Speaking to Gript, key organiser Mr Mike Daly insists that the current system remains “broken” despite a large-scale protest highlighting problems at the hospital in January.
Renewed calls for action to tackle long waiting times and overcrowding at UHL come on the back of the large-scale protest, which took place at the end of January in Limerick City centre, and was attended by an estimated 11,000 people.
That demonstration, which saw “numbers beyond expectations” called for plans to be put in place immediately to reopen all three accident and emergency departments in Ennis, Nenagh and St. John’s to relieve pressure at UHL.
The huge public demonstration came as Emergency Departments across the country and at UHL witnessed record trolley figures.
Organiser of the protest, Mike Daly, said at the time that he was left “speechless” by the support and turnout, as he told attendees they should be “proud” of themselves for supporting the campaign in person.
“Let’s hope it makes a difference,” Mr Daly said in a statement released shortly after the last protest finished. “We’ll sit back now and wait on a response if any,” he told Gript at the time.
However, despite public outcry, the number of patients on trolleys at UHL has once again approached record levels, per the Limerick Leader this week.
“THERE are 124 patients waiting on trolleys at University of Hospital Limerick (UHL), according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO),” the local paper reports, adding:
“The high figure is just two off the hospital’s record number of patients waiting for a bed which was 126, recorded on April 21, 2022”.
Mr Daly (who is also one of the main organisers of the upcoming protest on the last weekend of May), told Gript that trolley watch numbers from the Irish National Medical Organisation (INMO) continue to “consistently show Limerick as the worst in the country” as he hit out at the situation.
“Limerick has 124 people waiting on a trolley,” he said. “No Dublin hospital has more than 50 people waiting on a trolley, Galway has 50 and Waterford has four. “
“Why has this situation been allowed to continue for years? Part of the reason has to be that the people of Limerick did not unite as one voice and say enough is enough,” Mr Daly told Gript this week.
He continued: “Everyone who lives in Limerick will be impacted by UHL at some point in their lives. If not themselves directly a loved one (parent, grandparent, sister, brother, child) will end up in UHL requiring medical attention.
“The current system in UHL is broken and has been for a number of years. This is evidenced in the INMO trolley watch numbers which consistently show Limerick as the worst in the country.”
He said that the protest is being organised for Sunday 28th May to send a message that “the people of Limerick deserve better”.
“This is literally a matter of life and death and we are asking everyone to turn out and let their voice be heard,” Mr Daly told Gript.
Of these patients who are on trolleys, 63 are in the emergency department whilst 61 are in other wards around the hospital, the Limerick Leader reports.
UHL is also the only hospital to have over 100 patients waiting for a bed nationwide, according to the paper.
On Wednesday the INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha told the local paper: “We are seeing yet another predictable post-bank holiday surge in hospital overcrowding.”
The Limerick Hospital also records the highest number of patients waiting for a bed nationally, making up over 17% of the national total of 712.
The protest will take place at 2pm on Sunday 28th May at City Hall, Merchants Quay, Limerick city.