HIQA inspection finds improvements at UHL but ED remains overcrowded

Hiqa Inspection Finds Improvements At Uhl But Ed Remains Overcrowded
72 patients were on trolleys and chairs on the day of the inspection.
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Michael Bolton

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published a report of an unannounced inspection at University Hospital Limerick that took place in February.

The HIQA inspection found improvement on its last inspection in March 2022. Among the improvements were seen in the improvement in the level of nurse staffing levels in the emergency department, coupled with an enhancement in the number of consultants in emergency medicine.


The appointment of a senior manager, combined with better decision-making regarding patient care are among the improvements outlined in the report.

However, the emergency department remains an issue in the Hospital, with 72 patients on trolleys and chairs on the day of the inspection.

This level of overcrowding continued to impact on the privacy and dignity of patients despite the best efforts of staff.

Despite issues of patients waiting on beds, other areas in the emergency department were more positive, with eight out of 11 national standards assessed found to be either compliant or substantially compliant.


HIQA noted the hospital is in the process of building or planning the development of two additional 96-bed blocks to add significant extra inpatient bed capacity.

The first of these blocks is intended to be opened in late 2024 or early 2025, with the second intended to open in 2027.

The report also noted efforts were being make to fill vacancies and enhance the approach to workplace planning.

The hospital has submitted a follow-up compliance plan in response to the inspection findings, outlining its short, medium and long-term actions to address the non-compliances.


Comeenting on the report, INMO Deputy Secretary Edward Matthews said: “Today’s report as a follow on from last year’s damning inspection into the hospital is very welcome.

“The Inspection Report published today by HIQA paints a very bleak picture of what patients face on a daily basis and the conditions nurses are working in in the Ireland’s most overcrowded hospital. The report noted that on the day of inspection that the Emergency Department was over capacity by over three times the recommended number of patients that can be treated there safely.

"This comes as no surprise to our union whose trolley figures regularly point out to the chaotic levels of overcrowding that occur in UHL every single day.

“UHL has once again been found non-compliant when it comes to protecting the dignity and privacy of patients. This is not the fault of our members who are doing everything they can in a desperate situation.

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