ELECTIVE procedures at University Hospital Limerick have been cancelled for the remainder of the week, as it endures a spike in overcrowding and patients on trolleys.
This Tuesday morning saw 69 patients on trolleys, after there were 62 on trolleys on Monday. Both trolley counts were the highest since the pandemic began six months ago.
Hospital management has called on the public to consider their care options before presenting to the emergency department this Tuesday.
A spokesperson said that it has been seeing "high volumes" of patients, including many frail elderly patients requiring admission in recent days. In a 24-hour period up to 8am this Tuesday, 238 patients attended the emergency department.
This is 22% above the daily average of 195 in 2019.
At 8am, there were 48 patients in the emergency department. Twenty-five were in single or cubicle rooms, while 23 were waiting on a corridor.
"Every effort is made to ensure physical distancing is maintained and to keep wait times to a minimum. All patients continue to receive expert medical care while they wait. We expect that the ED will be busy throughout the day and we are reminding members of the public to consider all their care options before presenting to the department."
The hospital said that the elective activity has been cancelled "to de-escalate the site.
"This includes elective surgery and certain diagnostic procedures. Outpatient clinics will continue to run. We regret the impact these cancellations will have on patients who have been self-isolating in advance of coming for their procedures.
"Affected patients are being contacted directly and will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity. Elective activity at our other hospitals is unaffected by this decision," he said.