by Bernie English [email protected]
THE HSE had to put an action plan in place this week to cope with a huge surge of patients presenting at the Emergency Department.
There were 55 patients waiting on trolleys and in wards for admission this Tuesday.
In a statement on the issue on Tuesday, the HSE said: “The Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick has seen an unexpected increase in patients presenting over the last 24 hours which has resulted in high numbers of patients waiting on trolleys and long delays for patients.
“Amongst the factors contributing to the increase in pressure within the ED is the older age profile of patients presenting along with the complexity of issues they have. The hospital has also has a small number of cases of the Norovirus (winter vomiting bug)”.
UL Hospitals Group enacted their escalation plan to deal with the increase. The action plan includes transferring patients from UHL to Ennis Hospital, Nenagh Hospital and St John’s Hospital, discharging patients into community care, and an Assistant Director of Nursing from the Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) was transferred to UHL to facilitate the timely transfer of patients to the most appropriate services in the Community.
Hospital doctors are making extra rounds to identify patients who can be discharged and non urgent, elective surgery has been cancelled.
Visiting has been restricted to one patient per person during visiting hours because of the vomiting bug.
The moves come against a background of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation having deferred industrial action, which has been sanctioned by a ballot and promises from health Minister Leo Varadakar that he will step up measures to reduce overcrowding.
“The UL Hospital Group apologises that any patient has to be wait to be admitted. Patients are reminded to keep the ED for emergencies only and to contact their GP or GP Out of Hours services in the first instance. Local Injury Units are open in Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday and 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday at St. John’s Hospital. Patients aged 5 years+ with minor injuries; for example suspected broken bones in arm or lower leg, sprains, strains, minor scalds, burns or cuts are encouraged to visit their Local Injury Units for treatment,” the statement said.