Roisin Shortall TD

Social Democrats health spokesperson Róisín Shortall has welcomed the Taoiseach’s willingness to consider her proposal for the State to purchase Barrington’s Hospital in Limerick as part of a range of measures needed to solve the healthcare crisis in the region.

“In response to my proposal in the Dáil today, the Taoiseach indicated that consideration would be given to the purchase of Barrington’s Hospital, which is currently on the market for €12.5m.

“Given the scale of the hospital overcrowding crisis at UHL, which is having a devastating impact on patient care and staff welfare, any measure to increase bed capacity in the region is urgently required.

“Despite plans for additional beds at UHL, the reality is that they are not coming on stream fast enough.

“A new 96-bed unit in Limerick, which will really only result in 71 additional beds, is due in 2025. Another 96-bed unit will be delivered by 2028 – assuming there are no delays.

“However, people in the Midwest cannot wait that long – and they shouldn’t have to.

“That is why the sale of Barrington’s Hospital, a fully functional 53-bed hospital in Limerick city, represents an opportunity for the Government to do something it rarely does – act decisively and coherently to fix a problem in our health service.

“The purchase of this hospital alone will not solve the healthcare emergency in Limerick. Staff shortages across a number of specialist areas are also contributing to the chaos at UHL, placing an intolerable burden on hospital staff and impacting patient safety.

“At the very least, the HSE’s recruitment moratorium must be reversed so we can increase the pipeline of staff into critical areas.

“In addition, assigning Model 3 status to a hospital within the region would restore some Emergency Department services to these areas and take the pressure off UHL. It remains the only hospital group in the country without a hospital with this designation.

“I welcome the Taoiseach’s commitment today to look at all the measures I outlined to bring about a Midwest health service that is fit for purpose and does not put lives in danger.”

May 1, 2024

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