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Leaflet shows Mid-West public where to access best healthcare this winter

HELPING people who are ill to quickly access the best and most appropriate healthcare service to meet their needs, as close to home as possible, is a cornerstone of the Mid-West Winter Action Plan for 2019/20.

To help the public throughout the communities of the Mid-West get Winter-ready and stay well, UL Hospitals Group and HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare have jointly published a handy leaflet, packed with information about illnesses, treatments, and helpful pointers and contact information.

The A5 leaflet, which is being distributed across the Mid-West though local media and other platforms, clearly guides people to the most appropriate source of healthcare, for their needs, starting at home, branching out to their local pharmacies and family doctors, and beyond to the services offered by UL Hospitals Group.

One of the principal aims of the Mid-West Winter Action Plan is to heighten the public’s awareness about where to find the most appropriate care for their needs, and how to access it.

By increasing levels of awareness about the range of healthcare options available within their communities and at Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s Hospitals, the leaflet helps the public to avoid lengthy waiting times at the Emergency Department in University Hospital Limerick, which should be kept for the treatment of only the most seriously ill or injured patients.

The process starts at home, with self-treatment of everyday illnesses, most of which—including colds, coughs, and sore throats—do not even require an antibiotic. The HSE’s Under The Weather webpage, can help you find out what you can do to help yourself and others at home to treat such illnesses.

Local pharmacists are another vital resource within the community, with their advice and remedies for aches, pains, the common cold, and a range of other less complex conditions. However, the best help, advice and treatment can often be found at your family GP or the out-of-hours GP service Shannondoc.

If you’re suffering from minor injuries such as broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, wounds, scalds or minor burns, you will be seen much more quickly at the Local Injury Units in St John’s, Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals than you will in the Emergency Department, and you will also be much less likely to require admission to hospital.

The Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick treats seriously ill patients, and we are asking patients to consider all of the above treatment options before going to the ED. However if you are concerned that your life may be at risk, you should still come to the ED. Those who are seriously ill will be prioritised for treatment and people with less severe symptoms may face lengthy waits in ED.

Also on the leaflet is a section for important contact numbers, which you should keep for reference. There you will be able to add your own GP’s number to a list of contacts for Shannondoc out-of-hours GP services, Local Injury Units, emotional support services for those feeling emotionally distressed, and the emergency services, as well as the Emergency Department at UHL.

The leaflet is a key promotional tool under the Mid-West Winter Action Plan, the €550,000 joint initiative between UL Hospitals Group and HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare to manage patient care in acute hospitals and in community settings throughout the Mid-West, and to guide the public on where and how to get the most appropriate care for their needs.

Colette Cowan, Chief Executive Officer, UL Hospitals Group, commented: “This leaflet is an important aspect of our Winter Action Plan, helping us to ensure the health services across the Mid-West are working together so that patients can easily access the most appropriate care as close to home as possible, whether within their communities or in hospital.”

Maria Bridgeman, Mid-West Community Healthcare Chief Officer, commented: “It’s vital for members of the public to access the most appropriate healthcare if they are sick this winter. And it’s equally important to avoid illness by looking after yourself, getting the flu vaccine, washing your hands and always being winter-prepared. The leaflet takes people through useful resources such as the HSE’s Under The Weather online page, and is a very practical guide to helping yourself and your family stay well, and outlining when to contact GPs and pharmacists for advice.”

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