Overcrowded Limerick hospital urges public to get flu vaccine as outbreak persists

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Email:

fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

Overcrowded hospital urges public to get flu vaccine as outbreak persists in Limerick 

THE UL Hospitals Group has urged “at-risk” members of the public to avail of the flu vaccine, as the outbreak continues to circulate in Limerick. 

This comes as University Hospital Limerick was the most overcrowded in the country on Monday morning, with 55 patients on trolleys, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation. 

And to add to its overcrowding problem, it has been treating 11 flu cases at UHL with a number of other cases showing flu-like symptoms, as of Monday afternoon. 

As a result, the group has imposed visiting restrictions on the Dooradoyle hospital. 

“We regret any inconvenience caused to patients and relatives by these necessary measures, which are being taken in the interests of patient care.

“As flu can be carried in to the hospital by patients or visitors, it is necessary to restrict visitors to one person per patient only and to remind members of the public that visiting hours are from 2pm to 4pm and from 6pm to 9pm only and are to be strictly adhered to. Members of the public are reminded not to bring children on visits anywhere in the hospital. Parents visiting children are unaffected by the restrictions but are advised not to bring siblings,” a spokesperson said. 

He added that people with flu-like symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the emergency department at UHL.

“Any patient presenting in any part of the hospital for any reason should also advise staff if they or a family member has been showing symptoms of flu or indeed of norovirus (winter vomiting bug).”

People in “at-risk” groups include those who are 65 and older; children with chronic illness; all cancer patients; pregnant women; people with morbid obesity; nursing home residents; and healthcare staff.

In relation to overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick, the spokesperson said that it “apologises for any distress or inconvenience caused to patients or their loved ones who have experienced long wait times in recent days.

“We acknowledge this is a particularly difficult situation and wish to reassure patients and their families that we are working to alleviate the situation. We also acknowledge the difficult situation for our staff and thank them for their continued dedication and commitment to patient care.”

UL Hospitals Group has urged people to avail of the local injuries units at St John’s, Ennis and Nenagh Hospital in the event of a non-emergency. 

“However, if you are seriously injured or ill or are worried your life is at risk the ED will assess and treat you as a priority.”