ELECTIVE surgery has been cancelled and visiting restrictions imposed at University Hospital Limerick this Tuesday as the hospital copes with an increase in emergency admissions and a “small number” of winter vomiting bug cases.
Non-urgent surgical procedures for later in the week are also under review as part of the escalation plan effected at UHL this Tuesday.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation this morning counted 34 patients waiting on trolleys in the emergency department and a further 21 on trolleys on wards, making the Limerick hospital by some distance the most overcrowded in the country.
“The emergency department at University Hospital Limerick has seen an unexpected increase in patients presenting over the last 24 hours which has resulted in high numbers of patients waiting on trolleys and long delays for patients,” a spokesperson for the hospital stated.
“Amongst the factors contributing to the increase in pressure within the ED is the older age profile of patients presenting along with the complexity of issues they have. The hospital has also has a small number of cases of the norovirus (winter vomiting bug).”
Among the measures being taken by the group are the transfer of appropriate patients from Dooradoyle to Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s as well as the transfer of suitable cases to community settings.
An assistant director of nursing from the community care services has been transferred to UHL to facilitate the timely transfer of the latter group of patients.
Elective surgery has been cancelled in Dooradoyle this Tuesday, February 17 with the possibility of more cancellations later in the week.
Because of the winter vomiting bug, visits are restricted to one person per patient between the hours of 2pm and 4pm and between 6pm and 8.30pm.
“Staff across the group are working very hard to ensure the optimum care and safety of all our patients during this exceptionally busy period.
The UL Hospital Group apologises that any patient has to be wait to be admitted,” the spokesperson said.
“Patients are reminded to keep the ED for emergencies only and to contact their GP or GP out-of-hours services in the first instance. Local injury units are open in Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday and 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday at St John’s Hospital. Patients aged five years and over with minor injuries; for example suspected broken bones in arm or lower leg, sprains, strains, minor scalds, burns or cuts are encouraged to visit their local injury units for treatment.”