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MAJOR DISRUPTION and service delays are expected across the UL Hospitals Group which includes Ennis Hospital today (Wednesday).

A planned nationwide industrial action by members of the Medical Laboratory Scientists Association has led to the cancellation of many inpatient and day-case elective procedures as well as some outpatient appointments scheduled for this Wednesday in the Midwest and across the country. UL Hospitals Group has been directly contacting all patients who will be impacted. The industrial action is to take place from 8am to 8pm.

Reduced services will be running at the Medical Assessment Unit at Ennis Hospital, the same will apply for Nenagh and St John’s. Injury Units at those hospitals will be open as normal. Some elective surgeries will be cancelled, as will endoscopies, on all three sites. In addition, Gynaecology services at Nenagh Hospital will be cancelled for the day.

Outpatient appointments that do not require bloods to be taken are going ahead, and anyone who has an appointment for Wednesday and who has not been contacted should attend as scheduled. Details of the cancellation of services across the country, hospital by hospital, will be constantly updated on the HSE website.

Essential services at University Hospital Limerick (UHL), including oncology and dialysis, will remain open. The hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) will also remain open, but we anticipate that patients with non-urgent care needs are likely to experience significant delays in service.

Impacted services at UHL include some elective surgeries, bronchoscopies, endoscopies, and Warfarin clinics. The day of industrial action has also led to the cancellation of some elective surgeries scheduled for Wednesday at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital.

Elective surgery is being cancelled at University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL). However, the emergency maternity unit and neonatal emergency department services will continue, as will labour ward services, and most antenatal appointments will go ahead.

As efforts continue at national level to try and avert the industrial action, UL Hospitals Group has been working with the MLSA locally to ensure that arrangements are in place this Wednesday to safely provide the curtailed range of services.

While patients with less urgent conditions attending the Emergency Department at UHL can expect delays in service this Wednesday, “we wish to reassure the public that the department will be open, and that the sickest and most urgent cases will be prioritised for treatment. We regret the impact of these arrangements on patients attending our hospitals and we will work to reschedule appointments for all affected patients at the earliest possible opportunity,” a spokesperson outlined.

A spokesperson for the HSE stated that the effect was experienced from Tuesday with GPs unable to send routine lab tests to hospitals and instead have had to refer patients directly to emergency departments. “The HSE is continuing to seek further derogations relating to patients in hospitals on Wednesday and for priority scopes. Appointments and procedures disrupted by the strikes will be rescheduled as soon as possible”.

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