Significant risks remain for patients in University Hospital Limerick, report finds

Significant Risks Remain For Patients In University Hospital Limerick, Report Finds
The health watchdog carried out an unannounced inspection of UHL last November. Photo: PA
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Patients in University Hospital Limerick (UHL) are still at risk of harm in the emergency department given the persistent overcrowding, which is not fully managed by the hospital, the health watchdog has concluded in an inspection report.

An inspection into the emergency department at UHL found that "ineffective patient flow has yet to be fully addressed" and that significant risks to patient safety remain, despite some improvements.


The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) carried out an unannounced inspection of UHL last November, and found patient experience times continued to fall significantly short of national targets.

It noted that patients admitted to the hospital continued to be accommodated in the emergency department, impacting on their "dignity and privacy".

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The report recommended that focus should be on hospital avoidance measures, along with the planned additional capacity.

Publication of the report follows last week’s inquest into the death of 16-year-old Aoife Johnston in the emergency department in December 2022, which heard evidence from staff that the department was a “death trap” due to “gargantuanly overcrowded” conditions.

Delivering a verdict of medical misadventure, the coroner highlighted systemic failures, missed opportunities and communication breakdowns in the period leading up to her death, as her sepsis went untreated.

Earlier this week, in its latest attempt to tackle the overcrowding problem in UHL, the HSE set up a support team to address pressures on health services in the midwest.

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