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WATCH: New advice for patients as Covid restrictions remain in place at University Hospital Limerick

WATCH: New advice for patients as Covid restrictions remain in place at University Hospital Limerick

Dr Gareth Quin, Lead Consultant in Emergency Medicine for UL Hospitals Group

PATIENTS and visitors to University Hospital Limerick are being reminded that physical distancing, infection prevention and patient streaming measures introduced at the Emergency Department during the Covid-19 pandemic remain in place for the protection of patients and staff.

The measures were put in place earlier this year to reduce the risk of an outbreak of Covid-19 within the hospital; and they remain in place as part of the strategy for the safe resumption and delivery of services across all hospital sites in UL Hospitals Group.

Dr Gareth Quin, Lead Consultant in Emergency Medicine for UL Hospitals Group, says people’s compliance with the national public health guidelines and with the safety measures at UHL, has helped prevent an outbreak of Covid-19 in the hospital.

“As activity in UHL resumes and presentations at our Emergency Department increase, it’s important that each and every one of us, hospital staff and the public alike, hold firm to the measures. The public health emergency remains just that, and we must not become complacent,” he said.

“Given the high attendances and admissions at our ED, it’s necessary for most of the measures introduced at the peak of the pandemic to remain in place. We’re grateful for public support to date, and their continued support will help ensure that emergency medical care is reserved for the very sick patients who need it, while minimising the ever-present threat from Covid-19,” he added.

The emergency department at UHL is one of the busiest in the country, and with levels of presentations now surpassing pre-pandemic levels it has become more important than ever for the department to be ring-fenced for emergency cases.

“Our ED is open 24-7 to treat people with serious injury and unexpected illness such as heart attack, stroke and other life-threatening conditions. People with less serious injuries and conditions should consider all other care options before attending our busy ED, and we ask that they continue to first consult their family doctors, pharmacists or out-of-hours GP services,” said Dr Quin

"As part of the pandemic response, people presenting to the ED with minor injuries have been redirected to the Injury Units at St John’s, Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals. We’re thankful that the public have been understanding about this. The re-direction will continue and we would re-iterate our advice that those with more minor injuries such as limb injuries and wounds attend our Injury Units in the first instance,” he added.

Attendance at the three Injury Units, which are are open seven days a week, costs €75 while there is no charge for patients with full medical cards or those who have a valid medical/GP referral letter.

In a video post on social media, Dr Quin has also outlined the new processes that are in place at the UHL to combat Covid-19 such as the wearing of masks and PPE and the segregation of patients.

Patients are asked to wear a face covering and to observe physical distancing for the duration of their stay in the Emergency Department. 

“We recognise that for many people the sight of hospital staff in PPE may be disconcerting and the requirement to wear a facial covering may not be welcome. However, we need to continue to work together to ensure the infection does not spread within our hospitals or throughout our communities,” Dr Quin concluded.

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