'Gradual increase' in scheduled care across UL hospitals group confirmed

Leader Reporter

Reporter:

Leader Reporter

Email:

news@limerickleader.ie

'Gradual increase' in scheduled care across UL hospitals group confirmed

UL Hospitals Group has today confirmed that from this week, they will be "gradually scaling up scheduled care capacity, commencing with day surgery and endoscopy services"

The majority of scheduled surgery and outpatient appointments across the Group had been deferred on January 4 as a result of the significant surge in Covid-19 activity early in the New Year.

The group confirmed that those services to return this week in a reduced capacity include: Endoscopy services in UHL, Nenagh, Ennis and St John’s, Day Theatres/Surgical Day Ward in Nenagh and Ennis, Additional theatre lists in St John’s and Croom and additional paediatric outpatient appointments

Plans to restore additional capacity for theatre, diagnostic investigations and outpatient appointments are expected to be announced in due course while the visiting ban remains in place across our six hospitals.

Prof Brian Lenehan, Chief Clinical Director, UL Hospitals Group, said: “This week, we mark one year since the first patient with Covid-19 was admitted to UHL. There is hardly a parish in the country that is not by now aware of how devastating a disease it can be. The pandemic has also resulted in inordinate disruption to scheduled care over the past 12 months. Outpatient appointments, inpatient and day case procedures were considerably reduced across the country aligned to the National Action Plan on COVID 19 and the clinical guidance that was developed as part of the response to the pandemic.”

Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group, added: “Our staff have put in tremendous efforts to ensure that access for the most urgent and time-critical patients could continue, while also responding to three surges in Covid-related activity. We have changed how we work and we are now in a position to gradually increase scheduled care. We are asking our patients to bear with us and to continue to adhere to the public health advice as we all look forward to the further easing of restrictions in healthcare and across society.”

The progress of our vaccination campaign provides staff and patients alike with a great deal of reassurance as we look to gradually scale up our services. People who are more likely to attend hospital – the elderly and those with certain chronic underlying conditions – are now being vaccinated at pace. To have three vaccines approved and in use a year out from our first case is a historic achievement and more vaccines are in the pipeline.

The reduction in patients being hospitalised and being admitted to intensive care because of Covid-19 gives us all cause for hope this spring. However, new variants have introduced a level of uncertainty and our overall rates of transmission need to be further suppressed. Healthcare workers have been through a once-in-a-lifetime challenge and we are appealing to the public to bear with us and to continue to follow the public health guidance as our services recover,” Ms Cowan said.