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Nurses 'deeply disappointed' at Limerick hospital bed closure

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has said it is "deeply disappointed" following a meeting with University Hospital Limerick (UHL) management where it was confirmed the 17-bed-ward would close tomorrow.

Ward 1A opened as an additional hospital capacity in September 2017 as an acute short stay unit for medical patients.

Management asked nurses to "take a leap of faith" in their plans to reduce overcrowding in the hospital. UHL is the most overcrowded hospital in Ireland, with 11,400 patients on trolleys in 2018.

INMO Industrial Relations Officer for Limerick Mary Fogarty said: “This is a bad decision for patients and hospital staff alike. Limerick is already the most overcrowded hospital in the country. It simply does not make sense to close further beds when faced with this appalling problem.

“Closing beds will only worsen Limerick’s overcrowding crisis, with longer waits and more patients stuck on trolleys in public corridors.

“Our members are understandably sceptical when asked to take a ‘leap of faith’, given that previous management plans to cut overcrowding have not worked.

“Sadly, even our compromise proposals to close the beds on a phased basis were rejected by management.

“We have asked management for further engagement with the INMO over their next steps, to identify ways to improve systems in UHL before a new 60-bed block comes onstream.”