Elective clinics and outpatient clinics are to be temporarily cancelled at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) as the hospital grapples with “exceptionally high emergency attendances and admissions”.
The hospital said the decision has been taken in order to “de-escalate the site and assist with patient flow”.
In a statement, the group confirmed all elective activity and outpatient clinics have been cancelled from this Wednesday July 28 to Friday July 30.
This is necessary to “manage risk and stabilise the UHL site in advance of what is anticipated to be a busy Bank Holiday weekend,” they added.
Despite an additional 110 beds being made available to UHL, 51 patients were being treated on trolleys at the region’s busiest hospital this morning.
UL Hospitals Group has urged members of the public to consider all available care options before attending the emergency department at the Dooradoyle hospital.
“We regret the impact these cancellations will have on patients who had expected to attend for their procedures this week,” a spokesperson for the hospital group said.
“Patients directly affected by this decision are being contacted directly by UL Hospitals Group, and will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity.”
In the 24-hour period to 8am Tuesday morning, 265 patients attended the emergency department - far in excess of the 195 average attendances at the department 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.
Last Saturday, there were 207 attendances, and on Sunday, 185. The average attendance on Saturday and Sunday during July of 2019 was approximately 157.
UL Hospital Group said the hospital continues to work to its escalation plan, which includes additional ward rounds, accelerating discharges and identifying patients for transfer to other hospitals.
However, high numbers of admitted patients require a level of care that, for the Mid-West, can only be provided at UHL, they said.
The group also noted 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,” they added.
The group reminded the public that injury units in Ennis and Nenagh are open from 8am to 8pm, while St John’s is open from 8am to 7pm, for the treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns, and that, while those with less serious illness or conditions should contact their GPs or out-of-hours GP services.
For those who are seriously injured, ill or worried their life is at risk “the ED will assess and treat you as a priority,” the spokesperson concluded.