The Manager of Letterkenny University Hospital has called on the public to “consider all care options” before attending the Emergency Department this weekend.
The hospital ED has seen high levels of overcrowding this month, with ambulances backed up at the Emergency Department on more than one occasion.
Yesterday 139 patients presented to the Emergency Department. By Tuesday evening, there were seven ambulances seen outside waiting to admit patients to the building.
Sean Murphy, Hospital Manager, said Covid-19 is putting pressure on services: “Our hospital is extremely challenged by the rising number of Covid-19 admissions and ongoing high attendances at our Emergency Department. The current rise in cases reinforces the need for all of us to continue to adhere to the public health advice. By continuing to manage the risk for yourself, you also do so for others who are more vulnerable.”
Eleven wards at LUH are affected by Covid-19 outbreaks. At the same time, there are 84 patients with COVID-19 being treated in the hospital, and also high volumes of non-Covid patients.
Visiting restrictions remain in place at Letterkenny University Hospital as the site continues to be severely impacted by COVID-19.
Mr Murphy is calling on the public to contact their GPs instead of presenting to hospital if a health problem is not an emergency.
He said:”St Patrick’s Day has always been a very busy day for Emergency Departments and given that this year we will have two bank holidays and a weekend together, I would like to remind the public to consider all care options before attending the Emergency Department. If your health problem is not an emergency you should contact your GP during normal surgery hours or the NoWDOC GP out of hours service, in the first instance.”
The ongoing pressure on bed availability has also resulted in a number of elective procedures being postponed and patients are being contacted directly if their procedure is being postponed.
Saolta said the hospital is committed to treating everyone who presents at the Emergency Department; people who are seriously injured or ill are assessed and treated as a priority and those who do not require urgent care may be waiting longer.
Mr Murphy concluded: “I want to thank the public for their ongoing support of our efforts to keep Covid out of our hospital. These precautions will help protect our patients and keep infections out of our hospital.”