The HSE National Crisis Management Team and have revealed local and national services are being severely impacted due to the severity of the weather conditions.
As a result they have appealed to members of the public to consider that due to the deteriorating weather conditions, National Ambulance Service is prioritising emergency calls and are asking people to consider if they have an absolute emergency situation before calling for an ambulance and suggested if you do need to call an ambulance please know or have your Eircode to hand.
The HSE has also cancelled all non-urgent surgeries planned for Saturday 3rd March. There is no need for patients to contact their hospital. Hospitals will be in touch over the coming weeks to reschedule their appointments. Patients who are scheduled for urgent surgery over the weekend will be contacted by their hospital.
Where it is safe to do so, they are asking people to consider checking in on elderly or vulnerable members of the community, and to make sure they have supplies of food, fuel, water and medicines.
The advice to older people is to stay indoors and to keep at least one room heated to 18 degrees. Wear multiple layers of clothes, have plenty of blankets and socks to keep you warm. Make sure you eat well and keep active and be mindful of risk of slips, trips and falls. If you have a personal alarm, make sure you wear it at all times and have urged elderly people and their carers to read advice about falls prevention on winterready.ie
The GP Out of Hours service is operational but will face challenges in going to see people in their own homes. We are asking people to bear this in mind if they need to call a GP to their home. There will be delays due to the severe weather conditions.
The HSE are also advising the public to access our communications channels to get the most up to date information at www.hse.ie/weatherwarning and @HSELive #weatherwarning on Twitter for all the latest regarding HSE services.
In a statement tonight the HSE have said their biggest challenge remains the provision of transport to patients and staff given the difficulties on our road network and said they were continuing to work with partners including the Defence Forces and voluntary providers to help address the transport challenge.
The HSE acknowledged the help received from the Defence Forces, all voluntary providers and indeed other groups and individuals such as the farming community who have helped our services over recent days and said they anticipated further weather challenges over the next three to four days with cold temperatures remaining and possible further snow and frost in the early part of next week.
"In addition we envisage that the full recovery will extend through next week as all our services try to get back to normal operations."
For those patients with appointments the HSE will provide further guidance as they assess the impact of the severe weather over the weekend. Further information will be made available through communications channels www.hse.ie/weatherwarning and @HSELive.
In conclusion the HSE said they wanted to acknowledge the heroic efforts of health service staff in maintaining health services during the current severe weather episode and said they continued to hear many examples of staff going the extra mile to ensure that patients and service users receive the treatment they need.
“To all of our staff we say a heartfelt thank you for your continued dedication to providing a high quality public service.”
Tonight on @RTELateLateShow watch out for stories of outstanding work by health and emergency services staff over the last number of days in extremely challenging conditions #StormEmma #ourhealthservice #weareourvalues https://t.co/RCi6Yvm2uJ— HSE Ireland (@HSELive) March 2, 2018