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Overcrowding has surged to record levels at University Hospital Limerick where there were 97 patients on trolleys on Tuesday.

Hospitals’ Group issues new advice for hospital admissions

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A HOSPITAL medic has appealed for people to follow all public health guidelines to curb the increasing spread of Covid-19 as the UL Hospitals’ Group prepares for a surge in admissions of very sick patients with the virus.

Visiting bans which were imposed across acute public hospital sites in the Mid-West at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020 remain in force.

Prof Brian Lenehan, Chief Clinical Director, UL Hospitals’ Group said the group regretted it is again curtailing scheduled care in their hospitals.

He pledged the group will prioritise their most urgent patients for planned procedures and appointments and look forward to increasing this activity as soon as possible.

“We have commenced vaccinating hospital staff against Covid-19 as part of the biggest such mass vaccination campaign ever seen in Ireland. It gives our staff such a sense of optimism that we are at the beginning of the end of this pandemic.

“They know what they are potentially facing over the next number of weeks and it is imperative that we all do the right thing for our loved ones, for the vulnerable members of our community and for our healthcare workers by following the public health advice.”

If any Clare person has symptoms of Covid-19, it is important that they do not go to the Emergency Department or their GP.

Instead, they are advised to ring their GP in advance for advice and avoid contact with other people by self-isolating. In a medical emergency anyone with severe symptoms should call 112 or 999.

As the group experience a significant surge in Covid-19 activity, it is also reminding members of the public that the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick is extremely busy and patients should consider all other care options before presenting to ED.

The ED remains open for emergency care and patients must continue to present for life-threatening emergencies such as heart attack, stroke etc.

Emergency and trauma theatre continues to operate and time-critical outpatient appointments are also being accommodated both face-to-face and virtually.

Patients whose appointment or procedure is being affected are being contacted by the hospital in advance. The reductions in service are being kept under continuous review by the group’s Crisis Management Team, which is currently meeting on a daily basis.

Services which continue include dialysis (UHL); cancer services, oncology and haematology day ward; haematology and oncology OPD clinics; medical oncology clinics; rapid access clinics; ward 4B appointments) (UHL); fracture Clinic (UHL); time-critical outpatient clinics following clinical decision, with patients being contacted in advance; paediatrics: oncology/radiology day case/diabetes education (UHL) and ante-natal clinic; colposcopy clinic; diabetes in pregnancy clinic; elective c-sections and induction of labour (UMHL).

As an alternative to attending ED, the group urges 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-7pm, 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.

Dan Danaher

About Dan Danaher

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