Management at University Hospital Limerick are asking the public to consider other treatment options after a high number of patients attended the hospital’s emergency department over the Bank Holiday weekend.
According to a statement issued on Monday evening, a hospital spokesman said they had “admitted a lot of seriously ill patients recently, many of who remain in the emergency department, awaiting a bed.
“We are asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep emergency department services for the patients who need them most. For example, many patients with limb injuries can go to the Injury Units in Ennis, Nenagh or St John’s Hospital. These 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.
“Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.
“However, if you are seriously injured or ill or are worried your life is at risk the ED will assess and treat you as a priority,” the statement concluded.
Last week, the UL Hospitals Group issued its Winter Preparedness Plan to the Department of Health, saying it includes new proposals to mange the busiest period at University Hospital Limerick’s new €24 million emergency department.
This includes prioritising patients aged 75 and over, and reviewing elective procedures on a daily basis.
A new 17 bed medical short stay ward, funded through the Department of Health’s Winter funding initiative, is one of the measures designed to address bed capacity needs.
The group is also in discussions with the St John’s Hospital management team regarding a re-opening date for 20 beds that have been closed because of fire regulations. A nursing recruitment campaign is underway and the specific date for re-opening will be set depending on the successful recruitment of these staff.