Limerick City TD, Willie O’Dea has said that major challenges lie ahead for University Hospital Limerick as winter approaches, and in particular, the Emergency Department as a result of overcrowding and a lack of resources.

The Fianna Fáil TD was commenting following the publication of the latest Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) Trolley Figures for the country’s national and regional hospitals.

“The fact that this morning, 66 people were stuck on trollies in the Emergency Department or in wards is scandalous.”

“This is one of the highest figures every recorded for University Hospital Limerick, and I am not confident that the ED is prepared for increased pressure over the winter.”

“A major issue with overcrowding in UHL is the size of our Emergency Department. It’s just too small for the size of the population it serves. Every person in Limerick City and County, North Tipperary and most people in Clare are directed to UHL’s ED if they are in a medical emergency.”

“Additional resources, including capacity are urgently needed to address the chronic overcrowding in the University Hospital.”

“In September, Minister Harris announced the now annual, Winter Initiative to reduce overcrowding in our hospital emergency departments. It’s clear to me that this initiative has done little for UHL, and extra support is required, otherwise, winter 2016/2017 will end up being one of the worst since records began,” concluded O’Dea.