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Cancellation of outpatient clinics at UHL & some elective surgery at UHL & St John’s Hospital on Monday

[FRIDAY OCTOBER 15th, 2021]

UL Hospitals Group is cancelling all but the most time-critical outpatient appointments at University Hospital Limerick, and some elective surgery at UHL and St John’s Hospital, on Monday, October 18th.

The decision has been made in order in order to assist with patient flow as UHL continues to manage an extraordinarily high level of emergency presentations, and increasing numbers of COVID-positive patients.

The Group is appealing for the public’s help by asking them to consider all available care options, while the hospital frees up capacity to care for seriously ill patients presenting to the Emergency Department at UHL

Appointments at Ennis, Nenagh, Croom and University Maternity Hospital Limerick are unaffected by this decision. Emergency care will also continue through the ED in UHL, while Injury Units in Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s Hospitals will remain open.

Patients who are directly affected by Monday’s cancellations at UHL and St John’s Hospital are being contacted by UL Hospitals Group, and will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity.

Cancelling elective activity is an option of last resort, and the Group is profoundly sorry for the impact these cancellations will have on patients who had expected to attend for clinics or procedures on Monday, many of whom will have been waiting a long time for appointments. In this context, the decision to cancel electives and outpatient clinics has been taken in the interests of the safety of all patients and staff in UHL.

Services that are unaffected by these cancellations and will continue are:

  • Cancer Clinics
  • Rapid Access Lung
  • Rapid Access Prostate
  • Rapid Access Breast Clinics
  • Nurse led Heart Failure and Cardiac Rehab
  • Day-case Angiograms
  • Acute Fracture Clinic, UHL
  • Endoscopy Clinics
  • Eye Clinic
  • ENT Clinic

If you have an appointment at these specific clinics, please attend as normal.

The situation will be reviewed on Monday, in the hope of resuming the closed services as soon as possible.

During September, daily attendances at the ED were 240, 23% higher than the 195 daily average in 2019, the last full year pre-pandemic. The trend has continued into October, with a daily average of 243 attendances at ED during weekdays, and a still relatively high weekend average of 190 presentations.

We continue to work to the other elements of our Escalation Plan, including additional ward rounds, accelerating discharges and identifying patients for transfer to our Model 2 hospitals. We are also working with our colleagues in HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare, in order to expedite discharges. However, it should be noted that patients being admitted to UHL at this time are generally very sick with complex conditions, and require longer inpatient stays to recover.

All patients who present to the ED with minor injuries at this time—such as suspected broken bones, cuts, bruises, sprains and strains—will be redirected to the Injury Units in Nenagh, Ennis and St John’s for treatment. Full information on the range of services that are available in our Injury Units is available the HSE website here. Anyone with less serious illnesses or conditions at this time is asked to first consult their local pharmacists or to contact their GPs or out-of-hours GP services, before attending the ED at UHL. Patients attending the ED can expect to experience long delays.

However, we want to reassure the people of the Mid-West that anyone who is seriously injured or ill, or worried that their lives may be at risk, or who needs emergency treatment for heart attacks, strokes and other serious illnesses, will be treated as a priority, 24/7, in the Emergency Department at UHL.

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.