“No wonder we are seeing blockages in the UHL’s Emergency Department and delays in receiving appointments,” said the Mayor of Limerick, Cllr. James Collins as his party found out that across the UL Hospital Group there are 148 unfilled vacancies.

Cllr. Collins was commenting after his party received a breakdown of the number of unfilled vacancies in the group, in addition to the number of vacancies that are being filled on a temporary basis by locum staff.

“At present, in the UL Hospital Group, which covers University Hospital Limerick, Ennis Hospital, Nenagh Hospital, Croom Hospital, the Maternity Hospital and St. John’s Hospital, has 47 unfilled nursing and patient care vacancies,” added Collins who is a Fianna Fáil General Election Candidate in Limerick City.

“While there is only one unfilled medical vacancy, there are 25 being filled on a temporary basis. If any of these doctors, gets offered a full time, permanent role in another hospital, the group would be struggling to replace them in a timely manner.

“The net result of these vacancies and temporary roles is severe pressure on the existing staff in the hospitals. Emergency Departments, especially in UHL, are inundated with the staff at the end of their tether. Some patients are literally left waiting years for a consultant appointment.

“While the difficulties in recruiting doctors and nurses are well known, I can’t understand why there are so many non-medical/nursing vacancies, especially in the health social care sectors. These roles are incredibly important.

“We need to see a plan put in place for the UL Hospital Group to fill all these vacancies. Unless they are filled, we will continue to see bad headlines about overcrowding and waiting lists, and that’s just not acceptable,” concluded Collins.