OUTPATIENT and elective surgery will resume at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) and Ennis Hospital next Tuesday, the UL Hospitals’ Group announced on Friday.
The group explained the cancellation of surgery was necessary for patient and staff safety while both hospitals have been managing a number of outbreaks of Covid-19.
During this time, six wards in UHL were closed to admissions. In addition, some 221 staff across the group were off work and self-isolating due to Covid-19.
Meanwhile, the Outbreak Control Teams established in both locations has continued to work closely with public health and occupational health colleagues, in accordance with HPSC guidance, to contain the virus and protect all the patients and staff in our hospitals.
Contact tracing and testing of staff has been ongoing, and all appropriate infection control measures have been implemented to mitigate the risk.
On Friday, the Group’s Hospital Crisis Management Team decided to extend the service curtailments at UHL and Ennis for just one more day before resuming outpatient services and elective activity at both hospitals next Tuesday morning.
St John’s Hospital, Nenagh Hospital, University Maternity Hospital Limerick and Croom Orthopaedic Hospital continue to operate as normal.
Patients whose procedure or appointment for Monday next is affected by this extension are being contacted directly by the hospital. All patients affected by the curtailments during the past two week will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity.
On Monday, the following services will continue emergency/trauma theatre; cancer and other time-critical surgery; Cancer Day Ward; cancer rapid access clinics; dermatology melanoma clinic; urgent outpatient appointments; dialysis and palliative care.
The Emergency Department at UHL continues to operate around the clock for emergency cases. At Ennis Hospital the Injury Unit and Medical Assessment Unit continue to operate. Separate Covid/-19 query and non-Covid-19 pathways are in place to keep patients safe.
As has been the case since the start of the pandemic, patients with any symptoms of Covid-19 are asked not to attend the hospital or any healthcare facility but to phone their GP for advice. Further advice on the symptoms of Covid 19 is available at www.hse.ie
Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group, commented: “Service curtailments such as those in place at UHL and Ennis currently are always regrettable, regardless of how essential they are. They make a major impact on the lives of our patients and their families, and so I’m glad that we are able to reintroduce our outpatient services and elective activity from next Tuesday. This has been a complex situation, involving multiple outbreaks, and I’m grateful to the outbreak control teams within the hospitals for everything they have done in containing the virus and protecting our patients and staff.”
“With significant numbers of our staff who had been off now returning to work, we are glad to be able to resume services again in a manner that’s safe for all patients and staff. We are going to work to ensure that patients affected by the curtailments are rescheduled as soon as possible,” she said.
“However, it is necessary for all of us to remain vigilant and cognisant of the fact that the current levels of community transmission of the coronavirus are higher than we would like them to be.
“We ask everyone at this time to continue holding firm to the public health guidelines on social distancing, hand hygiene, and masks, in order to minimise the still very real threat of COVID-19 and the impact on health care delivery. It’s in all our hands,” Ms Cowan added.