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19 Jan 2022

University Hospital Limerick postpone appointments and surgeries for second week due to staff shortages

SIPTU concerns over UHL staffing

University Hospital Limerick

REDUCTIONS in scheduled care across the UL Hospitals Group has been extended for another week due to Covid-19 related staff absences. 

The Hospital Crisis Management Team have confirmed that the majority of scheduled surgery and outpatient appointments across their hospitals from Monday, January 10 until Friday, January 14 have been affected. 

As of today a total of 675 staff or approximately 13% of the workforce are unavailable for work for reasons relating to Covid-19.

Emergency and trauma theatre continues to operate and time-critical outpatient appointments are also being accommodated both face-to-face and virtually. The curtailment of services is being kept under continuous review.

Services at University Maternity Hospital Limerick are unaffected. 

Patients directly affected by this decision are being contacted directly by UL Hospitals Group and will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity.

Services which will continue include: Dialysis (UHL), Acute Fracture Clinic (UHL), Cancer services, Paediatric clinics and Ante-natal clinic; colposcopy clinic; diabetes in pregnancy clinic; elective c-sections and induction of labour (UMHL).

While services at University Maternity Hospital Limerick are unaffected, an outbreak of Covid-19 and high levels of community transmission mean the temporary restrictions on access to the inpatient wards for nominated support partners must for now remain in place.

Access for nominated support partners to our inpatient wards at UMHL is limited to one two-hour slot per day between the hours of 2pm and 8pm. 

Nominated support partners can continue to attend for the labour ward, theatre, certain scan appointments, neonatal and other services. 

UL Hospitals Group CEO, Colette Cowan, said: "As in recent years, we had planned to reduce scheduled surgery at UHL for the first two weeks in January in order to better manage the anticipated surge in emergency presentations.

"This year, due to the surge in Covid-19 cases and the high levels of absence due to Covid-19, we have in addition had to reduce scheduled care across all our sites, including in Ennis, Nenagh, St John’s and Croom. Staff from our model 2 hospitals have redeployed to keep essential services running this week at UHL and at UMHL.

"Through redeployment and overtime, our staff have again responded with professionalism and dedication to ensure we can continue to provide care to our sickest patients through this challenging period.

We regret the impact that these cancellations and restrictions are having on our patients and their loved ones. We will prioritise our most urgent patients for planned procedures and appointments next week and we look forward to increasing activity as soon as possible.”

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