MAJORITY of elective surgeries and outpatient appointments at hospitals across Limerick and the Mid-West are being cancelled, following Met Eireann’s Status Red blizzard-like warnings.
Met Eireann is forecasting that blizzard-like conditions will develop in heavy snow and strong easterly winds on Thursday evening. This will continue Thursday night and Friday morning giving significant snow drifts in many areas.
The UL Hospitals Group announced the cancellations this Wednesday evening, which will affect all Mid-West hospitals, including University Hospital Limerick, St John’s Hospital, Croom Orthopaedic Hospital, University Maternity Hospital Limerick, Ennis Hospital and Nenagh Hospital.
The Emergency Department at UHL, Injury Units at Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s and Medical Assessment Units at UHL, Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s will operate as normal on Thursday and Friday. The Maternity Emergency Unit at University Maternity Hospital Limerick will also continue to operate on a 24-hour basis, the spokesperson said.
“The Group is putting arrangements in place to ensure the continuation of essential services for chemotherapy and dialysis patients as well as those coming in for urgent surgery. These patients are being prioritised at this time and are being contacted by the clinical teams in relation to appointments/procedures planned for this Thursday and Friday. In circumstances where patients are unable to travel, alternative dates will be provided as soon as possible.
“The Group is in contact with transport providers for dialysis patients on the evolving weather conditions. Patients will be contacted individually and decisions will be based on clinical need and the travel advice from the National Emergency Co-ordination Group.”
Outpatient appointments, elective procedures (inpatient and day case) and endoscopy services for this Thursday and Friday are being cancelled in majority of cases at UHL, Ennis, Nenagh, St John’s, University Maternity Hospital Limerick and Croom Orthopaedic Hospital. Patients are being contacted directly by SMS and by phone and will be notified as soon as possible about a rescheduled date.
At University Maternity Hospital Limerick, antenatal and all other clinics scheduled for this Thursday and Friday have also been cancelled and will be rescheduled. Expectant mothers scheduled for elective surgery this Thursday or Friday are being contacted.
“Adverse weather conditions in the coming days may present difficulties for patients going home and discharges are being accelerated today, where appropriate, to better manage any surge in presentations arising from slips/falls and respiratory or other medical conditions associated with the cold.”
With regards to the emergency department at UHL, the spokesperson said that it “remains extremely busy and members of the public are urged to consider all their care options at this time and not to attend the emergency department unless necessary.
“Injury Units in St John’s, Ennis and Nenagh hospitals are open for appropriate injuries. 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. Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.
“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.”
Staff will be available at the following numbers to address any concerns:
University Hospital Limerick 061 585756
University Maternity Hospital Limerick 061 483144
St John’s Hospital 061 462222
Croom Orthopaedic Hospital 061 397276
Ennis Hospital 065 6863320
Nenagh Hospital 067 42366