UHL and St John’s cancel outpatients clinics and surgeries until Wednesday

by Kathy Masterson
THE UL Hospitals Group has announced that it is extending the cancellation of all but the most time-critical outpatient appointments at University Hospital Limerick, and some elective surgery at St John’s Hospital and UHL, until this Wednesday, October 20.

Patients who are directly affected by these cancellations are being contacted by UL Hospitals Group, and will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity.

Outpatient appointments at Ennis, Nenagh, Croom and University Maternity Hospital Limerick are unaffected by the decision.

Emergency care will also continue through the Emergency Department (ED) in UHL, and the Injury Units in Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s Hospitals will remain open.

Services that are unaffected by these cancellations and will continue are:
– Cancer Clinics
– Rapid Access Lung Clinics
– Rapid Access Prostate Clinics
– Rapid Access Breast Clinics
– Nurse-led Heart Failure and Cardiac Rehab
– Day-case Angiograms
– Acute Fracture Clinic, UHL
– Endoscopy Clinics
– Eye Clinic
– ENT Clinic
– Endocrinology Clinic
– Dermatology Clinic
– Vascular Laboratory Clinic

Patients who have an appointment at these specific clinics are advised to attend as normal. Meanwhile, the site-wide visiting restrictions introduced on October 5 in response to an outbreak of Covid-19 at the hospital, remain in place for now.

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These restrictions are outlined here: https://healthservice.hse.ie/healthcare-delivery/ul-hospitals-group/ulh-blogs/further-visiting-restrictions-at-uhl-in-response-to-covid-19-outbreak.html>.

As of today, Monday, there are 52 Covid-positive patients in the hospital, of which six are in critical care, either in the Intensive Care or High Dependency Units.

A spokesperson for the Group said: “Cancelling elective activity is an option of last resort, and the Group is profoundly sorry for the impact these cancellations will have on patients who had expected to attend for clinics or procedures, many of whom will have been waiting a long time for appointments. In this context, the decision to cancel electives and outpatient clinics has been taken in the interests of the safety of all patients and staff in UHL.

“The situation is being reviewed daily, in the hope of resuming the cancelled services as soon as possible.

“UHL continues to manage an extraordinarily high level of emergency presentations, and increasing numbers of Covid-positive patients, and the decision to extend the cancellation is in order to assist with patient flow in the hospital.”

ULHG has renewed its appeal to the public to consider all available care options, while the hospital frees up capacity to care for seriously ill patients presenting to the Emergency Department at UHL.

The spokesperson continued: “UHL continues to experience high emergency presentations and admissions.

“All patients who present to the ED with minor injuries at this time – such as suspected broken bones, cuts, bruises, sprains and strains – will be redirected to the Injury Units in Nenagh, Ennis and St John’s for treatment.”

“Anyone with less serious illnesses or conditions at this time is asked to first consult their local pharmacists or to contact their GPs or out-of-hours GP services, before attending the ED at UHL. Patients attending the ED can expect to experience long delays.

“However, we want to reassure the people of the Mid West that anyone who is seriously injured or ill, or worried that their lives may be at risk, or who needs emergency treatment for heart attacks, strokes and other serious illnesses, will be treated as a priority, 24/7, in the Emergency Department at UHL.

“We apologise to any patient who has experienced a long wait for admission to UHL during this period of exceptionally high demand for our services,” concluded the spokesperson.