Dr Joe Kelly: appealing to people to avoid Limerick ED due to high numbers
As record numbers attend the Emergency Department (ED) at University Hospital Limerick (UHL), members of the public with less urgent complaints are advised to expect long delays.
Injury Units, GPs, out-of-hour GP services and pharmacists are all available as options before presenting at an Emergency Department, and we are urging members of the public to consider these options before attending our ED.
Dr Joe Kelly, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, UL Hospitals Group, said: “In common with colleagues in emergency medicine across the country, the Emergency Department here in University Hospital Limerick is managing very high numbers of emergency presentations and admissions, of a level rarely experienced here, even before the pandemic.”
“On Monday of this week, alone, there were 280 presentations to ED -- that’s 85 more than the average attendance in the last full year before the pandemic. In short, we’re at capacity, and all staff are working to ensure our patients are provided with safe care, and that emergency healthcare is prioritised for the significant numbers of people who need these services most urgently right now,” Dr Kelly said.
He added: “We urge people to continue attending ED for suspected heart attacks and strokes and other serious illnesses or accidents. Anyone who has a less serious injury is going to experience delays, so we’re asking them to consider all the healthcare alternatives to GP where that’s appropriate.”
Hospitals around the country are experiencing exceptionally high levels of emergency presentations and admissions. At UHL, recent record levels of emergency presentations have continued into this week. The 280 presentations to the ED at UHL on Monday were followed by 276 on Tuesday July 13th. In 2019, the last full year pre-pandemic, average daily ED presentations stood at 195.
Additional ward rounds, accelerated discharges and identification of patients for transfer to our Model 2 hospitals are all underway as part of the escalation plan for UHL. However, high volumes of patients require a level of care that only UHL can provide in the region. One measure of the acuity of inpatients is the number who require 1:1 care or “specialling” with a nurse or healthcare attendant. This usually averages at approximately 25 patients in UHL at any one time but stood at 47 patients requiring this enhanced care on Tuesday July 13th.
As well as a high proportion of complex unwell medical patients, UHL is also prioritising urgent, time-critical and emergency surgery.
The public is being reminded that Injury Units are open seven days a week, including bank holiday Monday. Injury Units in Ennis Hospital and Nenagh Hospital are open from 8am to 8pm and St John’s Hospital from 8am to 7pm.
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