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20/09/2021

BREAKING: Elective activity and outpatient clinics cancelled as Limerick hospital manages 'exceptionally high' emergency attendances

Debt collectors to chase unpaid ED bills at Limerick hospital

ALL elective activity and outpatient clinics at University Hospital Limerick are being cancelled from this Wednesday to Friday in order to de-escalate the site and assist with patient flow as the hospital copes with “exceptionally high emergency attendances and admissions”.

UL Hospitals Group is urging members of the public to consider all available care options before attending the Emergency Department (ED) at the Dooradoyle hospital.

The cancellation of elective activity and outpatient clinics, a spokesperson said, “is necessary to manage risk and stabilise the UHL site in advance of what is anticipated to be a busy Bank Holiday weekend.”

“We regret the impact these cancellations will have on patients who had expected to attend for their procedures this week. Patients directly affected by this decision are being contacted directly by UL Hospitals Group, and will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity,” said the spokesperson.

“We are approaching the midpoint of another successive week of exceptionally high attendances at our ED, which reflects the picture at emergency departments in hospitals across the country.”

In the 24-hour period to 8am this morning (Tuesday), 265 patients attended the department. This is far in excess of the 195 average attendances at the ED recorded in 2019, the last full year pre-pandemic.

This followed a weekend in which attendances were far above the average attendances for the equivalent period in 2019. On Saturday, there were 207 attendances, and on Sunday, 185. The average attendance on Saturday and Sunday during July of 2019 was approximately 157.

“UHL continues to work to its Escalation Plan, which includes additional ward rounds, accelerating discharges and identifying patients for transfer to our Model 2 hospitals,” continued the spokesperson.

However, current demand for our services is multi-faceted. High numbers of admitted patients require a level of care that, for the Mid-West, can only be provided at UHL.”

The number of Covid-positive patients in UHL has increased to 11 over recent days. 

“In general, patients currently admitted to UHL are sicker and with more complicated conditions, and require longer inpatient stays to recover,” continued the spokesperson.

“We expect that the ED will remain busy and we remind members of the public to consider all their care options before presenting to the department. Injury units in Ennis and Nenagh are open from 8am to 8pm, and St John’s is open from 8am to 7pm. Injury Units are for the treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns. Anyone with less serious illness or conditions should contact their GPs or out-of-hours GP services.

“Members of the public with a less serious illness can contact their GPs or out-of-hours GP services. 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.

"We apologise to any patient affected by the temporary cancellation of our elective and outpatient services, and to anyone who has experienced a long wait for admission to UHL during this period of exceptionally high demand for our services.”

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