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Most scheduled surgeries and outpatient appointments deferred across UL Hospitals Group

UHL had the worst level of overcrowding in 2017 in Ireland with 8,889 patients being treated on trolleys at ED

The majority of scheduled surgery and outpatient appointments have been deferred at UHL

THE UL Hospitals Group has announced the deferral, until further notice, of the majority of scheduled surgery and outpatient appointments due to the continuing surge in cases of Covid-19.

Procedures scheduled for University Hospital Limerick, St John’s Hospital, Croom Orthopaedic Hospital, Ennis Hospital and Nenagh Hospital are all affected. University Maternity Hospital Limerick is unaffected by the reductions.

A spokesperson for the UL Hospitals Group says all affected patients will be contacted directly.

"As we experience a significant surge in Covid-19 activity, we are also reminding members of the public that the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick is extremely busy and patients should consider all other care options before presenting to ED. The ED remains open for emergency care and patients must continue to present for life-threatening emergencies such as heart attack, stroke etc," added the spokesperson.

According to the latest date from the HSE, there are more than 50 patients with Covid-19 currently being treated at UHL eight in ICU.

UL Hospitals says it regrets the decision to curtail scheduled care in the coming days and weeks in order to prioritise high volumes of emergency Covid and non-Covid patients.

Emergency and trauma theatre continues to operate and time-critical outpatient appointments are also being accommodated both face-to-face and virtually.

Patients whose appointment or procedure is being affected are being contacted by the hospital in advance.

The reductions in service are being kept under continuous review by the UL Hospitals Group Crisis Management Team, which is currently meeting on a daily basis.

Members of the public are being reminded that visiting bans, which were imposed at the outset of the pandemic last March, remain in force today.

UL Hospitals Group CEO, Colette Cowan, said: “We are now at a critical juncture as we expect the volume of Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital will soon exceed the numbers we treated during the first wave. This will present tremendous challenges for our hospitals and for our communities across the Mid West. Since the start of the pandemic we have significantly increased staffing levels and bed capacity. Staff have upskilled and gained valuable experience on how to treat patients ill with this terrible disease."

Ms Cowan says while the group is currently under considerable, it is managing.  "However no healthcare system could continue to cope with the current rate of increase in community transmission; hospital admissions and ICU admissions. The current rate of growth is unsustainable and we are depending on the public to again follow the public health advice as they have done in the past. It is imperative that people stay at home, that they keep their distance, wash their hands and take all the simple precautions to help us through this most challenging phase yet,” she added.

Prof Brian Lenehan, Chief Clinical Director, UL Hospitals Group said: “We regret that we are again curtailing scheduled care in our hospitals. We will prioritise our most urgent patients for planned procedures and appointments and we look forward to increasing this activity as soon as possible.”

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