The UL Hospitals Group is urging people to consider their care options before attending the Emergency Department at the region’s main hospital.
It comes as Nurses union, the INMO has reported high numbers waiting to be admitted to a bed for the third day in a row.
Hospital Management say it’s been an exceptionally busy week, as Clare FM’s Fiona Cahill reports.
The latest figures from the INMO show 77 patients were waiting to be admitted at University Hospital Limerick during morning rounds today, 47 of those in the Emergency Department.
The overall figure remains unchanged on yesterday and is just 1 fewer than the previous day.
Meanwhile, the number of Covid patients at the Dooradoyle facility have crept up slightly once again.
There were 38 patients being treated for the virus this morning, up two on the previous 24 hours, with 8 receiving critical care in either intensive care or the high dependency unit.
The hospital is also continuing to manage a COVID outbreak that has affected five inpatient wards and resulted in a hospital-wide visiting ban.
The UL Hospitals Group says the significant volume of attendances witnessed in October has continued into this month with 273 attendances over a 24 hour period between Monday and Tuesday alone.
The hospital is continuing to follow its Escalation Plan, which includes use of surge capacity, undertaking additional ward rounds, accelerating discharges and identifying patients for transfer to Model 2 hospitals, including Ennis.
Patients are being urged to consider their care options including your GP or GP our of hours service and the Injury Unit at Ennis General which is open 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm.
The UL Hospitals Group has apologised to any patient who has experienced a long wait for admission during this period of exceptionally high demand for their services.
Statement from the UL Hospitals Group
University Hospital Limerick remains exceptionally busy this week, with significant numbers of COVID-positive patients on the site, ongoing management of a COVID-19 outbreak in the hospital, in addition to continued high attendances at our Emergency Department over the past week.
As of yesterday morning, November 10th, there were 37 COVID-positive inpatients being treated in the hospital, of whom eight were receiving critical care, either in the Intensive Care or High Dependency Units. This is a fluid figure, as new cases are admitted and current cases discharged.
We also continue to manage a COVID outbreak in the hospital that has affected five inpatient wards and resulted in a hospital-wide visiting ban.
The volume of presentations to ED remain significant. During October, the average overall daily attendance at ED averaged 226, compared with 195 in 2019, the last full year pre-pandemic. Average weekday attendances (Monday to Friday) for the month were 241, and average presentations on Saturdays and Sundays were 193.
This trend has continued into November. So far this month, the overall average daily attendance at the department is 240. Attendances this week alone have been high. There were 273 attendances from 8am Monday to 8am Tuesday, followed by 241 on Tuesday, and 271 in the 24 hours to 8am this morning (Thursday).
At a time when presentations to the Emergency Department in the hospital remain at a high level, we continue to follow our Escalation Plan, which includes use of surge capacity, undertaking additional ward rounds, accelerating discharges and identifying patients for transfer to our Model 2 hospitals. However, current demand for our services is multi-faceted and high numbers of admitted patients require a level of care that, for the Mid-West, can only be provided at UHL. In general, patients currently admitted to UHL are sicker and with more complicated conditions, and require longer inpatient stays to recover.
There are additional challenges currently from staff absences due to COVID-19. These vary from day to day, and on this Wednesday morning, November 10th, there were 71 healthcare workers (HCWs) absent across the Group, including a small number of COVID-positive cases, staff who are symptomatic and staying home in line with public health guidance, and those awaiting results of COVID-19 swab tests.
With all this in mind, we ask members of the public to consider all available care options before presenting to the ED. Injury units in Ennis and Nenagh are open from 8am to 8pm, and in St John’s from 8am to 7pm, seven days a week. Injury Units are for the treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns. More information on our Injury Units is available here. Anyone with less serious illness or conditions should contact their GPs or out-of-hours GP services. 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.
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.