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Reductions in Scheduled Care Across UL Hospitals Group As Time-Critical Care Prioritised

  • UHL raises escalation level while managing sustained high attendances at Emergency Department
  • Some surgery at Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s Hospitals deferred on May 31st/June 1st
  • Services unaffacted at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital and University Maternity Hospital LimericPatients urged to consider alternatives before presenting to ED

(LIMERICK 30/05/22): SIGNIFICANT reductions in scheduled care are in effect across UL Hospitals Group this week as we manage high volumes of patients through our Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).

The hospital has raised its level of escalation and this has resulted in the deferral of all but the most time-critical elective activity at UHL this Tuesday and Wednesday, May 31st and June 1st . Almost all elective surgical procedures, outpatient appointments and diagnostic investigations are deferred for these three days, with the decision to be reviewed this Wednesday, June 1st.

Elective and day surgery is also impacted at Ennis Hospital, Nenagh Hospital and St John’s Hospital this Tuesday, May 31st and Wednesday, June 1st. We regret that some patients will have their surgery deferred on these dates and all affected patients are being contacted directly by hospital staff. Patients attending for endoscopy and outpatient appointments at Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s are advised to attend as planned. The medical assessment units at these three hospitals will also operate as normal.

Services at University Maternity Hospital Limerick and at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital are unaffected by these disruptions and patients at both hospitals are advised to attend for their appointments.

All patients whose appointments are affected by these regrettable service disruptions will be contacted directly by staff and their appointments will be rescheduled as soon as possible. In line with our escalation plan, we are currently prioritising care for our sickest patients and we sincerely regret the significant reduction in services across our hospitals this week.

The Emergency Department at UHL remains open 24-7 for emergency cases and emergency and trauma surgery is continuing. Injury Units at Ennis (8am-8pm), Nenagh (8am-8pm) and St John’s Hospital (8am-7pm) are all operating as normal.

There are a limited number of exceptions to the cancellations. Appointments at UHL which are going ahead at this time 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
  • Breast radiology
  • Heart Failure Clinic (ANP clinic) and Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Rapid Access Medical Unit (DVT, diabetes, epilepsy, anticoagulant, warfarin, respiratory, fibroscan)
  • Dermatology outpatients (urgent/time-critical)
  • Infectious diseases outpatients
  • Bronchoscopy outpatients
  • Cardiology diagnostics
  • OPAT (outpatient therapy)
  • Fracture Clinic
  • Paediatric outpatient clinics
  • Endoscopy
  • Vascular Laboratory

We urge people to continue attending ED for the most serious illnesses and injuries, such as suspected heart attacks and strokes. At this time of high demand for our services, anyone who has a less serious injury is going to experience delays, so we ask them to consider all healthcare alternatives to ED where appropriate, including family doctors, out of hours GP services, and local pharmacies.

Our Injury Units in Nenagh, Ennis and St John’s Hospitals are also an excellent care pathway for a range of minor injuries, which are outlined on the HSE website at this link: https://www2.hse.ie/services/injury-units/

Prof Brian Lenehan, Chief Clinical Director, UL Hospitals Group said: “We apologise to all patients currently experiencing long wait times for a bed in our Emergency Department and in our assessment units. This is not what we wish for our patients, in particular the many frail elderly patients with complex medical needs who require admission to hospital. At 8am this morning, there was a total of 81 admitted patients waiting for a bed outside of the designated bed spaces in our ED, in the Medical and Surgical Assessment Units and on our inpatient wards.”

“Medical teams are undertaking additional ward rounds to identify patients suitable for discharge or transfer to community care settings or to our model 2 hospitals, where surge capacity has been opened today as we manage high volumes of ill patients who require admission through ED. To further increase capacity, we have also taken the decision today to defer patients scheduled for surgery and for outpatient appointments.

“This is very difficult for patients who have already been waiting a long time for scheduled care as we attempt to catch up after so much pandemic-related disruption. These patients will be rescheduled as soon as possible however the increasing frequency with which these patients are having their care delayed underlines the fundamental mismatch between service demand and bed capacity in the MidWest region,” Prof Lenehan added.