One of Cork’s busiest hospitals has again urged people to avoid its emergency department (ED) if possible following a surge in patients.
It is the seventh such appeal from the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) so far this year which said on Wednesday it was experiencing high demand for its ED services due to an increase in the attendances of acutely ill patients.
The hospital issued a similar public appeal in June following a surge in ED presentations; it issued another appeal in May; it issued two such appeals in March; and had to do it three times last January.
The latest surge is in addition to caring for frail older persons with complex needs and is combined with what hospital management described as “the challenge of managing Covid-19 presentations”.
In a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, the hospital said its "escalation plan" had been fully implemented to deal with the high number of attendees and the resulting demand for inpatient beds.
“Additional surge beds have been opened and, where feasible, other hospitals and community settings are being utilised for patient procedures,” it said.
“The hospital is prioritising patients requiring urgent, time-sensitive care.”
The hospital issued an appeal to people needing less urgent treatment to avail, where possible, of other care services in the city, including their GPs or South Doc, in the first instance, or to seek medical attention for less urgent injuries at the Mercy Local Injury Unit at the St Mary’s Health Campus on the northside of the city.
“The public are reminded that South Doc is an option for those seeking medical attention outside of working hours, while the Mercy Local Injury Unit at Gurranabraher is open from 8am to 6pm, the Local Injury Unit at Bantry General Hospital operates between 8am and 7.30pm and the Local Injury Unit in Mallow General Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm,” it said.
“Patient care is a priority at MUH and hospital management would like to assure the public that the clinical needs of all patients in the ED are being cared for but it is regrettable that patients are experiencing delays.”