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Covid and ED surge means elective activity largely halted at UHL


A SUSTAINED surge in emergency presentations and a significant increase in Covid-19 cases has led to almost all elective activity at University Hospital Limerick being deferred until further notice.

This includes outpatient appointments, elective surgery and diagnostic investigations.

UHL has moved to its highest level of escalation, meaning emergency and time-critical care for the sickest patients is being prioritised.

Services at Ennis Hospital, Nenagh Hospital, University Maternity Hospital Limerick, Croom Orthopaedic Hospital and St John’s Hospital are largely unaffected and patients in these hospitals are advised to attend for their appointments or procedures unless contacted directly by our staff and advised otherwise.

A spokesperson for UL Hospitals Groups said, “We sincerely regret this significant reduction in service at University Hospital Limerick, which is necessary to prioritise emergency and time-critical care. Affected patients will be contacted as soon as possible to reschedule their appointments and procedures.

“The Emergency Department remains open 24-7 for emergency cases and emergency and trauma surgery is continuing.”

There are a limited number of exceptions to the cancellations. Appointments which are going ahead at this time include cancer services (oncology and haematology day ward; haematology and oncology outpatient clinics; medical oncology clinics; rapid access clinics for breast, lung and prostate).
Other appointments going ahead include Dialysis; Breast radiology; Heart Failure Clinic (ANP clinic) and Cardiac Rehabilitation; Clinical Age Assessment Unit (Blood pressure, Syncope, Falls Unit, DEXA Unit); Rapid Access Medical Unit (DVT, diabetes, epilepsy, anticoagulant, warfarin, respiratory, fibroscan); Nurse-led outpatient clinics; Dermatology outpatients; Bronchoscopy outpatients; Cardiology diagnostics; OPAT (outpatient therapy); Fracture Clinic; Paediatric outpatient clinics; Endoscopy.

A visiting ban remains in place at UHL as it continue to manage high volumes of patients, including 89 patients who are positive for Covid-19. The ban on visitors also applies to patients attending the Emergency Department.

The only exceptions are: parents visiting children in hospital; people assisting confused patients, for example, dementia; visiting on compassionate grounds, for example, for patients who are critically unwell or at end of life.

Exemptions are limited to one person per patient and will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

The spokesperson added, “As an alternative to attending ED we urge everyone to first consider the care options that are available in their own communities, including family doctors, out-of-hours GP services, and local pharmacies.

“The Local Injury Units at Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals (8am-8pm daily), and St John’s Hospital (8am-6pm, Monday to Friday) are an excellent option for treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns, without a lengthy wait that can be expected in the ED at this time.

“However, please note that if you are seriously injured or ill or are worried your life is at risk, the ED will assess and treat you as a priority.”

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