SIGNIFICANT reductions in outpatient clinics continue at University Hospital Limerick as the hospital prioritises care for inpatients and patients attending the Emergency Department.

Following a meeting of the Hospital Crisis Management Team today, hospital-wide visiting restrictions remain in place and outpatient clinics are being reviewed on a daily basis.

These measures follow an unprecedented level of ED attendance driven by a surge in patients with respiratory infections, including COVID-19, flu and RSV.

There are a number of exemptions to the outpatient cancellations. Clinics going ahead on Wednesday, January 4th include: Cancer services (oncology and haematology day ward; haematology and oncology outpatient clinics; medical oncology clinics; rapid access clinics for breast, lung and prostate); Dialysis; Paediatric outpatients; and Acute Fracture Unit.

Appointments deemed time-critical in other specialties will also go ahead. Patients affected by the cancellations are being contacted directly by our staff. Patients who are not contacted by phone or by text to cancel their appointment are advised to attend.

Other hospitals are unaffected by these cancellations. Patients with an appointment for an outpatient clinic at Ennis, Nenagh, St John’s, Croom Orthopaedic and University Maternity Hospital Limerick are advised to attend.

In addition, due to the high number of patients with flu and Covid-19 and a number of ongoing outbreaks, all visiting to UHL has been restricted.  “We regret the distress or inconvenience our visiting ban causes for patients and their loved ones, but it is necessary given the high levels of flu and Covid-19,” said a statement from UHL.

The only exceptions to the ban are as follows:

·         Parents visiting children in hospital

·         People assisting confused patients (e.g. dementia)

·         People visiting patients who are critically unwell or at end of life (on a case-by-case basis)

 

All these exemptions are limited to one person per patient only. Relatives or loved ones are advised that a service is in place to drop off or collect patient’s belongings at the main hospital reception.

“As we continue to manage this surge in emergency presentations, anyone attending ED with a less urgent condition is going to face an exceptionally long wait for care. We urge the public to consider all available healthcare alternatives to ED.

“Less acutely unwell patients are asked to first consider our Injury Units, GPs, out-of-hours GP services and pharmacists before attending ED.”

Injury Units in Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s are operating as normal. Opening hours for Ennis and Nenagh Injury Units are 8am -8pm and St John’s Injury Unit 8am-7pm.  For full contacts for the units, and the services available there, please see: https://www2.hse.ie/services/injury-units/

“We apologise to every patient who is currently experiencing a long wait for admission at UHL, and for the inconvenience and frustration this causes for patients’ loved ones.”

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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