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Patients presenting to hospitals operated by UL Hospitals Group will be asked for their COVID-19 vaccination status at the point of admission.

UL Hospitals Group confirmed to The Clare Echo on Tuesday evening that new national guidelines will see patients asked about their vaccination status when attending its hospitals which include Ennis Hospital and University Hospital Limerick.

Unscheduled attendances at the emergency department at UHLwill be monitored closely for proof of vaccination. The EU Digital COVID Certificate issued by the Department of Health, which can be a paper copy or stored on your mobile phone, or the physical record card presented to you at vaccination, contains the dates of vaccination, number of doses, and vaccine type.

In line with the latest national guidance, patients are being asked about their status either before they attend for appointments, at the time of check-in or admission, or as soon as possible thereafter.

A spokesperson for UL Hospitals Group told The Clare Echo, “Providing this information at admission assists the hospital to manage patients according to the degree of immunisation they have from COVID-19. It also helps the hospital more safely manage patients who come into contact with a COVID-19 case in any of our hospitals. It is now part of the national guidance on COVID-19 that information on the vaccination status of patients in acute hospitals is determined and recorded, either prior to admission or as soon as possible thereafter”.

Regardless of vaccination status, all patients will receive care and treatment, the spokesperson outlined. “Knowledge of vaccination status enables safer management of patients, and assists with contact tracing either in the hospital or afterwards in the community, if a patient comes into contact with a COVID-19 case in any of our hospitals. In addition, vaccination can be organised for inpatients who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, if they are eligible for vaccination and wish to avail of it during their hospital stay”.

Barbara Slevin, Assistant Director of Nursing in Infection Prevention & Control in UL Hospitals Group, said the request for vaccination by hospitals was part of a ‘best practice’ approach to infection prevention during the pandemic that is already in evidence in wider society.

She added that it was important for those attending hospital with a patient to observe the COVID-19 public health protocols.

The request by UL Hospitals Group for vaccination status prior to admission is set out in the national guidance document, ‘Acute Hospital Infection Prevention and Control Precautions for Possible or Confirmed COVID-19 in a Pandemic Setting’.

Information on patients’ vaccination status will be treated in the strictest confidence, in line with the ethical obligation on UL Hospitals Group to protect the confidentiality of all patients in our care, which is also a legal requirement as defined in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) along with the Data Protection Acts 1988-2018.

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