Letterkenny University Hospital is in high escalation today as staff prepare for a busy weekend.
Management says there is already huge pressure on bed availability, resulting in long delays in the emergency department.
An estimated 70,000 spectators are expected to travel to Donegal to see the Joule Donegal International Rally.
“The Hospital is preparing for all eventualities,” said a statement from Saolta.
“However with the current numbers of patients attending our ED department there is huge pressure on bed availability which is resulting in significant delays being experienced by patients who are waiting for a bed to become available on a ward. ”
Yesterday 135 people presented to the ED, following a trend of high attendances. On Tuesday of this week, the hospital had 176 registrations through their ED department, one of the highest ever recorded. There are currently 19 patients on trolleys in the ED waiting for a bed today.
In addition the hospital is seeing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, as of 8am this morning there were 27 patients with COVID-19 being treated in the hospital with one ward in outbreak.
The ongoing pressure on bed availability has also resulted in some elective procedures being postponed and patients are being contacted directly if their procedure is being postponed.
A spokesperson said: “The Hospital acknowledges that these delays are very difficult for patients and their families and apologise for the inconvenience and distress these delays cause. All available beds are in use. Every effort is being made to discharge patients who are ready to go home so that beds will become available for patients who need to be admitted, at the earliest opportunity.
“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.
“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.”