ALMOST all elective surgeries and outpatient appointments in public hospitals across Limerick and the Mid-West have been postponed until further notice due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The UL Hospitals Group made the announcement this Wednesday afternoon, adding that the visiting ban continues to be in place for University Hospital Limerick, University Maternity Hospital Limerick, Ennis, Nenagh, St John's, and Croom until March 29.
A spokesperson stated that time-critical procedures, such as cancer surgery, will continue in the coming days and weeks.
Five theatres are currently open at UHL for emergency and trauma cases as well as time-critical elective surgery.
There was just one patient on a trolley in the emergency department at UHL this Wednesday morning, consistent with other hospitals around the country.
The UL Hospitals Group CEO, Prof Colette Cowan said that they "sincerely regret having to reduce services and restrict visiting across our sites. However, patient safety is our highest priority and as part of a number of actions in that regard, it is necessary to reduce activity and prioritise services for our sickest patients. We look forward to resuming normal service at the earliest appropriate opportunity.
“We ask that members of the public help in the national effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 by observing the visitor ban in our hospitals, by attending the Emergency Department at UHL only when necessary; by following relevant public health advice around hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette and social distancing; and taking simple precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones and our community at large.”
A spokesperson added: "We sincerely regret having to extend this reduction in service, and we are sorry for any inconvenience or distress it has caused for affected patients, who will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity.
"For a limited number of other urgent outpatient appointments and procedures, patients will be called directly by staff to confirm the appointment. Patients should only attend for their appointment or procedure if contacted directly by the hospital."
SERVICES THAT CONTINUE AS NORMAL
- Dialysis (UHL)
- Cancer services (oncology and haematology day ward; haematology and oncology OPD clinics; medical oncology clinics; Ward 4B appointments) (UHL)
- Urgent Cardiology diagnostics – patients being contacted directly (UHL)
- OPAT (antibiotic therapy) (UHL)
- Fracture Clinic (UHL)
- Paediatrics: oncology/radiology day case/paediatric diabetes service (UHL)
- Ante-natal clinic; colposcopy clinic; diabetes in pregnancy clinic; elective c-sections and induction of labour (UMHL)
- Warfarin Clinic (Ennis Hospital)
- Elective surgery for paediatric patients (Croom Orthopaedic Hospital)
- Radiology appointments (Nenagh Hospital)
- Warfarin Clinic (St John’s Hospital)
IN RELATION TO VISITING BAN
We have drop-off & collection services available at our sites to help people get important personal items to and from their relatives in hospital. Security staff at University Hospital Limerick and reception staff at Croom, Nenagh, Ennis, and St John’s Hospitals will be happy to assist with queries about this service.
The ban on visitors also applies to patients attending the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick and the Injury Units in Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s Hospitals, and we are grateful to the public and our patients for their cooperation at this most difficult time.
Their continued support has helped us to keep the Emergency Department as a place where we must prioritise the treatment of the most seriously injured and ill people, and those whose lives may be at risk.
The only exceptions to the visitor ban are as follows (with a strict limit of one visitor per patient):
· Partners of women attending University Maternity Hospital Limerick
· Parents visiting children in hospital
· People visiting patients at end-of-life
· People assisting confused patients (e.g. dementia)
· People visiting patients in Critical Care