Public urged to use other channels before going to ED

University Hospital Limerick

WITH INMO figures highlighting 72 patients waiting for an in-hospital bed this Friday morning, and twelve cases of flu admitted across the group, management at the University Hospital in Limerick have asked that patients explore other means of treatment and only come to the Emergency Department if that is where they need to be.

In a statement to the Limerick Post, UL Hospitals Group is appealing to members of the public to consider all their care options before presenting to the Emergency Department at UHL.

“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 said.

It said: “The hospital is currently managing high volumes of patients, including a surge in flu cases and significant volumes of frail elderly patients with chronic conditions and complex care needs.

“The 266 patients who attended the ED on Monday, February 19 was the highest ever recorded for a single day. The pattern has continued all week, averaging at over 200 attendances per day.

“On Monday, February 12th, there were 12 flu cases admitted across the Group. Today the number of patients with flu being accommodated across the Group stands at 26.

UL Hospitals Group can confirm that at 8am on Friday, February 23, there were 47 admitted patients in the Emergency Department at UHL.

“This included patients who were being accommodated in some of the 49 single rooms/designated bays within the new department. It included, for example, 13 patients who were appropriately isolated in single rooms in the ED for proper infection prevention and control. A shortage of appropriate isolation facilities elsewhere in the hospital makes this the best solution in the interests of all patients.

“In addition there were 10 patients accommodated on extra beds and on trolleys on wards overnight.

“Additional surge capacity was being used to accommodate admitted patients in beds in the Acute Medical assessment Unit (13), the Surgical Assessment Unit (four) and the Surgical Day Ward (six). These three units have appropriate inpatient accommodation and their use in this manner forms part of the hospital’s escalation plan, which is put into effect at times of high demand.

“Transfers continue to Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s hospitals with these hospitals also operating to capacity.

“Members of the public are urged to consider all their care options at this time and not to attend the Emergency Department unless necessary.

“Injury Units in St John’s, Ennis and Nenagh hospitals are open for appropriate injuries. 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.

“UL Hospitals apologises for any distress or inconvenience caused to patients or their loved ones who have experienced long wait times in the ED at UHL, and we would like to reassure patients and their families that we are working to alleviate the situation. We also acknowledge the work of our staff and thank them for their continued dedication and commitment to patient care.

“Other measures are being taken to relieve pressure on the ED are additional ward rounds to facilitate discharges; the transfer of suitable patients from UHL to Ennis Hospital, Nenagh Hospital, St John’s Hospital and Croom Orthopaedic Hospital; the transfer of appropriate patients to community care settings and maximising access to Homecare packages and Transition care; working closely with Community Intervention Teams to provide antibiotics and other basic care in a patient’s home or care facility and communication with GPs to ensure patients are referred to ED only where appropriate”.

More about health here.