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Home / News / Surgeries at five UHL hospitals postponed for second day

Surgeries at five UHL hospitals postponed for second day

Planned surgeries at five hospitals in the University of Limerick hospital group will not go ahead today.

The hospitals affected are UHL, Ennis, Nenagh, St. Johns and Croom orthopaedic.

It is the second day of postponements as the group deal with large volumes of patients in the Emergency Department at UHL.

The department has been dealing with large numbers of very sick patients in the past week, which has been its busiest since the start of the year.

The hospital remains in its highest state of escalation managing patient flow and all available beds across the group are being used at surge capacity.

Surgical lists are reviewed on a daily basis, with a decision taken later today about planned procedures for tomorrow. Further postponements are not being ruled out in the coming days.

The number of people currently waiting on a trolley at UHL is 62, compared to 73 yesterday, according to the HSE’s daily urgent and emergency care report.

At least 21 people are waiting in the hospital’s Emergency Department and a further 41 are waiting on trolleys.

There are limits on the supports a GP service can provide to ease pressure on hospitals in the UHL group, especially given that GPs in the area are already under significant pressure, a GP in Lahinch, Co Clare has said.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Dr Michael Kelleher said GPs are actively involved in preventative care and chronic disease management, both of which ease pressures on hospitals.

Capacity must be increased along with the provision of extra community and step down services, he said.

‘What used to be a winter surge in a demand on the hospital sector is now an all year round demand.

“That’s not going to change because our population is rising and aging.

“We simply have to build up the capacity to cope with that. In the short term we’re going to have lots of issues like are occurring in Limerick currently.’

Patients are “well aware of the pressure in emergency rooms” but that they would rarely refuse to go to the Emergency Department if they were advised to, Dr Kelleher said.

The majority of people sent for admission by GPs are elderly and frail, or very ill children, he explained.

On the same programme, pharmacist Niall O’Sullivan said his colleagues are seeing a rise in demand for assistance with minor injuries.

The hospital group have asked GPs and pharmacists to step up and assist but there has been no formal contact from the HSE, Mr O’Sullivan said.

The owner of O’Sullivan’s Pharmacy Group said his own son spent two days on a trolley before having surgery for a badly fractured elbow.

He said: “One patient was told by a receptionist in the Emergency Department that they would getting paper stitches from a pharmacist than waiting in the ED all night.”

An education campaign in the region, highlighting aspects of care that pharmacists could assist people with, would be helpful, Mr O’Sullivan said.

“Informing the patients, informing the general public, even carers and minors, those who are not sure and are reverting to Google doctor as opposed to consulting with a healthcare professional.”

Yesterday, Sinn Féin said staff at UHL are struggling to deal with major overcrowding.

Party leader Mary Lou McDonald detailed the case of an elderly patient who was recently on a trolley in the hospital for eight days.

“There are significant staffing gaps in the hospital,” she told the Dáil.

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