University Hospital Limerick

People are afraid to go to University Hospital Limerick (UHL). Lives will be lost because of the fear but, equally, lives will be lost because that fear is justified. While celebrating being republicans this government has perpetuated huge disparity in healthcare across Ireland.

Our Health is Our Wealth – Time to invest in electronic health records nationally, MAUs and LIUs at Tier 2 Hospitals, and Medical Officers at Nursing Homes  

That Dáil Éireann:

recognises that:

–  University Hospital Limerick was the most overcrowded hospital in the country (18,028) followed by Cork University Hospital (12,439), University Hospital Galway (10,150), Sligo University Hospital (8,136) and St Vincent’s University Hospital (7,513); and

–   67,000 patients waited at least a day in their Emergency Departments before being admitted during 2022.

–  584,600 patients were waiting at the end of 222 to be seen at an outpatient clinic for the first time by a consultant; and

– Waiting list numbers reduced by 4% in 2022, significantly lower than the government’s waiting list reduction target of 18% for the year.

– Ireland remains a laggard in Europe for digitisation in the health system and the introduction of electronic health records

            – the use of such technology could significantly reduce triage times in emergency departments

– There remains a lack of a specific national structure or control for clinical oversight of the care of people admitted to nursing homes and they have difficulty accessing treatment by primary care teams

– the lack of such oversight and care can result in unnecessary presentations at Emergency Departments


  • The creation of an additional 7,176 patient slots per year across the UL Hospitals Group following the recent introduction of a seven-day service at MAU’s in Nenagh and St. John’s;
  • The ongoing recruitment by UL Hospitals Group for additional doctors, nurses, health and social care professionals and administrative staff; and
  • The changing of HSE protocols to allow non-emergency department doctors assess patients in the ED where there is a significant risk due to delay.
  • The Government allocating €350m under the Waiting List Plan in 2022 to reduce active waiting lists.
  • The European Investment Bank loaned the State €200 million to implement electronic health records more than three years ago
  • On 14 May 2021, the HSE was the subject of a major ransomware cyberattack, the most significant cybercrime attack on any Irish state agency and the largest known attack against a health service computer system.
  • Local Injury Units (LIU) deliver efficient, expert treatment to tens of thousands of patients with minor injuries every year and have been of crucial assistance in relieving pressure on Emergency Departments during the pandemic.
  • Medical Assessment Units (MAU) play an integral role in Emergency Department avoidance, providing a vital and timely service to GPs and patients; with approximately 10% of MAU cases may require admission to the hospital, and the majority will be discharged, with a follow-up review in the unit within 48 hours.

calls on the Government to:

  • Expand Medical Assessment Units (MAU) at Tier 2 hospitals to 24-hours, 7-days-a-week;
  • Expand Local Injuries Unit (LIU) at Tier 2 hospitals to 24-hours, 7-days-a-week
  • Appoint a designated medical officer in every nursing home and ensure that patients in nursing homes can access treatment by primary care teams
  • Procure or deliver an electronic health system to replace paper-based health records without further delay.
Lockdown Decisions

It is clear now that some of the measures adopted in response to COVID were unnecessary, some were ridiculous, some were inhumane, some had a long-lasting negative impact that outweighed any benefit, and it was clear at the time.

Overcrowding at UHL

Micheál Martin and his government failed the people of the Midwest by refusing to tackle the mounting problems at UHL. Leo Varadkar must now intervene.

I was shocked that the only proposal from the Government representative on today’s show was to call for mandatory face masks and “other restrictions”, and to call for young doctors and nurses to be forced to work in a chronically mismanaged health system.

105 people on trolleys at UHL

Clare TD Michael McNamara today raised the issue of overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick with Taoiseach Micheál Martin in the Dáil today.

Speaking after the debate, Deputy McNamara said, “It is very disappointing that the Taoiseach tried to wash his hands of overcrowding in UHL today, having previously told me he’d “come back” to me with details of the expert group sent there and their terms of reference.”

UHL overcrowding

Independent Clare TD Michael McNamara today called for an independent investigation into ongoing overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick (UHL), where a record 111 patients were on trolleys this morning.

Addressing Taoiseach Micheal Martin during Promised legislation in Dáil Éireann today, Deputy McNamara said the exponential growth in trolley numbers at UHL was unlikely to be halted by the introduction of additional beds alone and that consideration should be given to upgrading other hospitals within the UHL Group.

Responding to Deputy McNamara, the Taoiseach said he would request the Minister for Health and the HSE to review the Clare TD’s proposal around the causes of ongoing overcrowding.

Deputy McNamara commented, “There is no clear indication as to why UHL is consistently the most overcrowded hospital in the country. I don’t know whether it is how admissions and discharges are managed in the hospital or if Ennis, Nenagh or St. Johns need to be upgraded to Model 3 Hospitals. An investigation needs to be commissioned without delay.”

1.5m Antigen Tests in storage

I asked the Taoiseach why the HSE has been keeping at least 1.5 million antigen tests in storage and has only dispatched 35,000 (2%) to date. The Government decision not to distribute them for free is inexplicable.

Figures c/o @RachelLavin

New Raheen Community Hospital unit to open by mid-2022

Clare Independent T.D. Michael McNamara has received confirmation from the HSE that the proposed new build ward extension at Raheen Community Hospital in East Clare will be fully operational during the second quarter of next year.

The Scariff-based TD said, “The first phase of the works commenced in March and involved the relocation of the existing plant and boiler house which was sited on the footprint of the new build. The HSE has informed me that these works have been completed and that work on the 420m2 extension to the new build is underway.”

“The project includes the provision of 7 long stay replacement beds as part of an extension which will reduce the density of beds in the long stay wards and address deficiencies identified by HIQA at the hospital,” added Deputy McNamara. “The equipping of the unit is currently being planned and the HSE estimates that the new unit will be equipped and operational by Quarter 2, 2022.

Deputy McNamara said the new unit “will be very much welcomed by the people of East Clare area.”

“When I was first elected as a TD in 2011, there was a proposal to close smaller community hospitals, such as Raheen. Upgrade works were undertaken during this period at Kilrush and Ennistymon community hospitals, but little progress was being made in Raheen. After a focus was brought to this vital community resource by the visit of the then junior ministers for health, Alex White and Kathleen Lynch, which I initiated, the HSE implemented substantial capital investment plans in the intervening years. I now look forward to the completion of the works currently underway,” explained Deputy McNamara.

NEWSTALK – Irish healthcare system

With waiting lists increasing and positions remaining unfilled across our healthcare system, we need to be told what are the impediments to reform that led the Chairperson and Executive Director of the Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council to resign having concluded “that the requirements for implementing this unprecedented programme for change are seriously lacking”.

Limited capacity for Clare v Cork

I have requested Minister with responsibility for Sport, Deputy Jack Chambers to explain why capacity has been set at 500 for the Clare versus Cork game when the same venue hosted 3,000 spectators for the Munster Championship semi-final between Clare and Tipperary three weeks ago.

We’re aware of Delta but also that there will be further variants. Supporters are rightly annoyed especially given the match is only on Sky Sports.

McNamara seeks improved ventilation in schools as Tanaiste suggests antigen tests being considered

The Taoiseach says the Government is considering the introduction of antigen testing to primary and secondary school settings in the autumn.

Leo Varadkar was responding today to a Dáil question by Clare Independent TD Michael McNamara who asked if ventilation would be improved in school buildings over the summer holidays to reduce the spread of Covid in classrooms and to negate the need for classroom windows to be kept open during the autumn and winter months.

Questioning the Tánaiste, Deputy McNamara asked, “Over the course of the summer are we going to introduce ventilation works to schools or are we going to have children returning to schools wearing coats and wearing masks in poorly ventilated buildings and freezing in the middle of an Irish winter with the windows open?”

Deputy McNamara also raised the potential for using stand-alone HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorbing) filter devices in classroom.

He added that an Expert Group on the Role of Ventilation in Reducing Transmission of COVID-19, set up by the Department of Health, said such devices “maybe useful in reducing airborne transmission in spaces with insufficient ventilation.”

In response, Leo Varadkar said the matter is under consideration by Government.

“We accept that schools will need better ventilation in September and October and the issue of CO2 monitors is part of that,” stated the Tánaiste.

He continued, “We have asked the Expert Group on Antigen Testing to advise us on applying antigen testing both to indoor hospitality and to schools when they reopen in September.”

NPHET and Rapid Antigen Testing

NPHET’s confirmation that it hasn’t even discussed the Government-commissioned Report of the Covid Rapid Testing Group and its reluctance to accept the EU Commission’s common list of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests demonstrate an intent to maintain Ireland’s outlier position on international travel and antigen testing compared to other EU states.