Health Minister to make a Second Unannounced Visit to Limerick Hospital, while also considering New Options to Cut Waiting List for MRI Scans – Minister Patrick O’Donovan

Added October 8th, 2019

Health Minister to make a Second Unannounced Visit to Limerick Hospital, while also considering New Options to Cut Waiting List for MRI Scans – Minister Patrick O’Donovan.

Minister for Health Simon Harris has said he will make another unannounced visit to the University Hospital Limerick in the coming weeks.

The Minister has also agreed to meet with all Oireachtas members from the Mid-West to discuss current problems facing the Limerick hospital, following a meeting the Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan.

In the course of their discussions on the hospital, the Minster of State at the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, also raised serious concerns about high trolley numbers at the hospitals ED, delayed discharges and the unacceptable waiting list for MRI scans, with the health minister.

Following their meeting Minister O’Donovan said, “Minister Harris agreed to examine options relating to the wait for MRI scans including options such as using equipment in private hospitals; a mobile unit that can be brought in temporarily, and the long-term option of purchasing and installing a second scanner for the hospital.”

“One of the biggest issues facing University Hospital Limerick is the unacceptably high number of trolleys in the Emergency Department, and the sustained upward growth of delayed transfer of care which of course is unacceptable for patients and adding to the trolley issue,” said the County Limerick minister of state.

“In my opinion there is a growing demand for community social care measures such as long-term residential care, home support and transitional care to support discharge from Limerick Hospital.

“The Minister of Health has agreed to examine the current use of Nenagh, Ennis and St John’s hospitals to ensure they are being used to maximum potential, while also taking on board the need for extra funding for Mid-West social care – to include home help, transitional funding, and fair deal. He said this is one of his budget priorities and I remain hopeful of positive news,” added Minister O’Donovan.

“Frontline staff are of course key to a good health service, and we discussed the need for extra nurses. The HSE have recruited over 40 student nurses in last five weeks, which is progress in the area of staffing needs.

“The minister is to meet with all Oireachtas members and has also agreed to meet the clinical team from UHL with me at a time to be agreed. In the meantime, Minister Harris plans to carry out another unannounced visit to the hospital in coming weeks to see first-hand how the hospital is working and where improvements still need to be made,” he said.

“Meanwhile progress is been made on the Modular Unit. The main contractor is commencing work on the modular 60-bed inpatient ward block at the hospital. The enabling works are complete on the project and a capital budget of €19.5 million has been approved for the work, of which €10 million has been allocated this year. An additional 25 beds have also opened since 2017 at UHL, including eight as part of the 2018/2019 Winter Plan.”

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