Limerick Elective Hospital through a partnership with UL Hospitals Group and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has been under active consideration.
The Taoiseach is set to work alongside the Minister for Health to draw up a proposal for an elective hospital in Limerick
By I Love Limerick correspondent Stella Gordon
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has claimed that an elective hospital is the “way to go”, in order to relieve the crises at University Hospital Limerick (UHL). This announcement comes after pleas from hospital staff, patients, and politicians for the dire situation at the hospital to be addressed. Colette Cowan, CEO of UL Hospitals Group has requested an elective hospital, saying that it would help tackle the overcrowding issue which has been ongoing for many years. An elective hospital would allow for faster processing of patients, relieving UHL.
An elective hospital would efficiently address long waiting lists for surgeries along with procedures and diagnostics for outpatients. Elective hospitals do not provide A&E care, but scheduled care only. Examples of scheduled care that would be provided are same-day procedures, such as laparoscopies and endoscopies for example. So far, there are three elective hospitals set to be operational in Ireland for 2027. These are in Dublin, Galway, and Cork. On the creation of these hospitals, Stephen Donnelly, Minister for Health, said that it will, “change the way in which day case, scheduled procedures, surgeries, scans, and outpatient services can be better arranged to ensure greater capacity in the future and help to address waiting lists.”
On April 21, 2022, there were 126 people in UHL on trolleys, creating a new record for overcrowding in Irish hospitals. In September 2022 Deloitte, a consultancy group found that UHL was not fit for purpose, which further strengthened the need for an elective hospital according to Colette Cowan. On October 6, Kieran O’Donnell, Limerick TD said in Dáil Éireann, “It is in Government policy already that Cork, Galway, and Dublin are to get elective hospitals, for me, it’s completely illogical that Limerick isn’t included in the Midwest.”
“We’ve had the highest amount of people going through the Emergency Department in 2021 in any one year. We have the lowest number of open beds per thousand of the population of any region in the country,” Mr. O’Donnell explained. He went on to say, “Elective hospitals in Cork, Galway, and Dublin need to be directed by the Minister for Health in line with the commitment from the Taoiseach to now include Limerick as well. Our system is under enormous pressure in Limerick.”
Taoiseach Micheál Martin is set to work with Stephen Donnelly, Minister for Health, to plan on how to fast-track the Limerick elective hospital and draw up a proposal, as it needs to become official policy that Limerick receives the hospital. In response to complaints from members of the Dáil, the Taoiseach said, “In the last six months, in particular, Deputy O’Dea and others have put forward the idea of a Limerick elective hospital. I support that, but what worries me is the extent to which we can get it more universally and more quickly through the healthcare system. However, I believe that the elective hospital path is the right path. It relieves the main hospital and ensures faster and more efficient processing of patient waiting lists.”
For more information on UL Hospitals Group, go HERE
For more stories on UHL, go HERE