One Clare TD is hopeful a new Transition Lounge scheduled to open on the grounds of the University Hospital Limerick this week will go some way to alleviating the back log and overcrowding at the hospital’s emergency department.
Minister of State for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen T.D. said “The €200,000 15-bed unit will provide an area for patients to wait after being discharged, freeing up more beds in the University Hospital Limerick earlier in the day”.
Two nurses will be staffed in the unit and it will accommodate patients who have been discharged and are ready to go home, as well as patients who have been discharged to step down hospitals such as Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s Hospital.
“It is my understanding that once a patient has been discharged by a consultant in the morning they can be accommodated in this Transition Lounge while awaiting paper work and while waiting to be collected. In turn patients who have arrived in the Emergency Department overnight and require a bed can be accommodated in the morning and will not have to wait as long,” added Breen.
“I am assured that the new transition unit will be comfortable and safe for patients, while allowing waiting patients access to beds quicker. Measures like this are a temporary solution to the overcrowding issue at the hospital’s Emergency Department while we await the opening of the new Emergency Department at the end of May”.
He rejected claims that the new ED in UHL would not open on time. “Following the publication of the Health Strategy at the end of last year it was feared that the resources would not be in place to open the new ED unit in Limerick before October next. However following extensive talks with my colleagues the Minister for Health and Minister for Finance, a further €1.8 million was secured in the last few weeks, so that unit can be opened at the end of May. The recruitment of staff for the new unit is already under way”.
Pat Breen described the issue at the A&E as “complex”. The Fine Gael TD continued “More resources and incentives must therefore be put into primary care, while also ensuring all GPs sign up to an out of hours service, as most already are. A strong, efficient and well resourced primary care and indeed community care system should allow for many of the patients currently seeking care in our accident and emergency rooms, safe and proper care in their homes and community”.
“I have spoken with the Minister for Finance, who is also working hard for the University Hospital Limerick, about the need to secure the seed funding for the 96 new beds planned for the hospital as soon as possible. Now that the finance to open the Emergency Department has been secured, we cannot waste time in beginning work on providing the new acute beds unit on the hospital campus. I will be speaking with the Minister for Health on this matter also as a matter of urgency,” concluded Breen.