*University Hospital Limerick

UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick (UHL) is currently experiencing extremely high demand and are appealing to the public to consider all care options before presenting at their Emergency Department.

In a statement to local media, UHL says they have been caring for “an exceptionally high number” of unwell medical patients associated with a surge in respiratory illnesses and who require admission to hospital. A total of 261 patients attended the ED on Monday, significantly above average “and it follows an unusually busy weekend”.

The alarming statement continued, “UHL is currently at its highest state of escalation. Surge capacity has been opened at UHL and across our hospitals. Elective activity in UHL is being reviewed on a daily basis, with only urgent and time-critical patients, including cancer cases, scheduled for surgery this week.

“The Emergency Department remains open 24/7 and urgent care is being delivered to those who need it most. Anyone who comes to ED who doesn’t have a life-threatening or severe illness or injury will face a significant wait.

“Our teams are working hard to ensure emergency care is available for our patients. The ED is open 24/7 and delivering urgent care to those who need it most.

“Injury Units and Medical Assessment Units in our model 2 hospitals at Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s are also experiencing an increase in demand. It is encouraging to see this increase in demand for services available in our model 2 hospitals as more patients choose alternatives to the ED.

“We apologise to anyone who has had a long wait for admission to University Hospital Limerick in recent days. We thank the public for their patience and support at this time of exceptionally high demand for our services.

“At the same time, we ask the public to support us in ensuring emergency care is prioritised for the sickest, most seriously injured and frailest patients.”

Commenting on the current demand on health services, Sandra Broderick, Regional Executive Officer, HSE Mid West,  said: “UHL is  experiencing high demand for emergency care and I encourage members of the public across Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary to utilise alternative care options such as our local pharmacies, who can give advice on minor aliments; your GP; and our Injury Units in Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s. In addition, I would encourage people to use the GP urgent out-of-hours across the region as alternatives to ED care.  I recognise people may require prompt, urgent medical attention that can only be met at the ED and those patients should continue to use the ED service.

“I want to apologise to the public who are experiencing unacceptable and excessive waiting times to access our various services in the community and the hospital.  Unfortunately, we have had to reduce our elective activity and open additional surge capacity across our hospitals to manage this increased demand. I want to assure the public that the health and social care teams across the region are working at full capacity to meet this extreme demand and I thank the staff sincerely for their efforts,” Ms Broderick said.

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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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