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18/10/2021

BREAKING: UHL issues public appeal due to 'long wait times' in ED

UHL had the worst level of overcrowding in 2017 in Ireland with 8,889 patients being treated on trolleys at ED

UHL’s Emergency Department (ED) is "exceptionally busy" this weekend, according to a statement sent to the Leader this Sunday afternoon.

Following a week of very high demand for emergency services and patients are experiencing "long wait times". On Friday, 75 patients were waiting on trolleys at UHL, according to the INMO. The figure was the highest in the country, 30 more than the 45 awaiting a bed in Letterkenny, Donegal.

"Every effort is being made by management and staff to reduce these wait times and to maximise patient flow. We regret that any patient has to wait for extended periods of time," said a UHL spokesperson.

During September 2021, daily attendances at the ED averaged 240 an increase of 22%, compared with 195 in 2019, the last full year of the pandemic.

"We continue to follow our escalation plan, which includes additional ward rounds, accelerating discharges and identifying patients for transfer to our Model 2 hospitals.

"However, current demand for our services is multi-faceted and high numbers of admitted patients require a level of care that, for the Mid-West, can only be provided at UHL. In general, patients currently admitted to UHL are sicker and with more complicated conditions and require longer inpatient stays to recover," said the UHL spokesperson.

Their statement reminds 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.

"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 who has experienced a long wait for admission to UHL during this period of exceptionally high demand for our services," said the UHL spokesperson.

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