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Measures To Ease Overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick To Remain in Effect

  • Surge capacity is open across hospitals to manage wave of illnesses
  • Reductions in day and elective surgery in UHL, Ennis, Croom, St John’s and Nenagh from January 9th
  • Outpatient clinics resume at UHL from January 9th
  • Visiting restrictions remain in place at UHL due to high levels of flu and Covid-19

(LIMERICK: 05/01/23): ACTIONS taken to decongest the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick since the declaration of a major internal incident on January 2nd are to remain in effect over the coming days.

Reductions in scheduled care are also set to continue across UL Hospitals Group next week as care for inpatients and patients attending our Emergency Department is prioritised.

Following the declaration of a major internal incident by the Hospital Crisis Management Team (HCMT) on January 2nd, a number of extraordinary measures have been taken to reduce overcrowding, in particular in the Emergency Department. These actions, in line with the hospital escalation plan, have included:

  • Reductions in scheduled care
  • Opening of surge capacity at UHL, including inpatients currently in the Surgical Day Ward, Surgical Short-Stay Unit, Geriatric Emergency Medicine Unit, Acute Medical and Surgical Assessment Units, Post-Operative Care Unit and the Cardiology Unit
  • Admitted patients in the ED have been transferred on trolleys to inpatient wards in UHL
  • Opening of surge bed capacity at Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s hospitals
  • The transfer of appropriate medical patients to Croom Orthopaedic Hospital
  • Use of private bed capacity

Through these measures, the number of admitted patients waiting in our ED has reduced and the instances of extreme overcrowding seen at the beginning of the week have come down. However, the numbers waiting for an inpatient bed across the hospital group are still too high. This morning, there were 14 admitted patients on corridors within our ED and patients continue to face lengthy wait times to see a doctor, in particular patients with less urgent healthcare needs.

We expect we will continue to see high numbers of attendances at our ED and high numbers of admitted patients waiting for beds to continue into the coming weeks.

A meeting of the HCMT this Thursday also confirmed that hospital-wide visiting restrictions at UHL are to remain in place.

Widespread outpatient cancellations remain in effect at UHL for this Friday, January 6th.

There are a number of exemptions to the outpatient cancellations. Clinics going ahead this Friday include:

  • Cancer services (oncology and haematology day ward; haematology and oncology outpatient clinics; medical oncology clinics; rapid access clinics for breast, lung and prostate)
  • Dialysis
  • Paediatric outpatients
  • Acute Fracture Unit

Appointments deemed time-critical in other specialties will also go ahead. Patients affected by cancellations are being contacted directly by our staff. Patients who are not contacted by phone or by text to cancel their appointment are advised to attend.

Outpatient clinics will resume at UHL on Monday, January 9th and patients with an appointment are advised to attend.

Outpatient clinics at Ennis, Nenagh, St John's, Croom Orthopaedic and University Maternity Hospital Limerick remain unaffected this week and next with patients advised to attend.

Planned reductions in scheduled care at UHL mean that only time-critical elective surgery will take place next week.

We regret that we must now delay our plan to resume day surgery in our model 2 hospitals from next week. This will result in cancellations for patients scheduled for day case procedures in Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s hospitals.

Day beds at these hospitals are being used as additional, or surge capacity, for inpatients being admitted locally or transferred from UHL. There will also be reductions in elective surgery at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital from next week.

University Hospital Limerick, Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s Hospital are all operating at or above capacity as hospitals across the region manage a wave of illness largely driven by acute respiratory conditions.

Some elective patients at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital will also be deferred. Affected patients at all hospitals will be contacted directly by our staff and we will rescheduled these patients as soon as possible.

We apologise to every patient who is currently experiencing a long wait for admission at UHL, and for the inconvenience and frustration this causes for patients’ loved ones.