Emergency Department’s experiencing high level of demand 

by Rose Barrett
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A number of hospitals are experiencing very high levels of activity due to ongoing high illness rates related to winter viruses.

As of 8am on Monday, February 5, there were 272 patients on trolleys. At midnight there were 352 people awaiting discharge and a number of sites were reported as “extremely busy”. Unfortunately, Winter respiratory viruses are still circulating at high levels despite passing the peak

As such, the HSE is asking the public to consider all care options  following Féile Bríde Bank Holiday Weekend. It asks Dubliners to consider other services that might be helpful, including their GPs, pharmacists and GP out of hours services before presenting at Emergency Departments (EDs) at Dublin hospitals..

As always, people who do require emergency care are encouraged to attend EDs where they will be prioritised. When there is a large volume of ED attendances, patients are prioritised in terms of clinical need and wait times for non-urgent care can be lengthy. 

According to Damien McCallion, the HSE’s Chief Operations Officer said “Many of our EDs were extremely busy this weekend. While we have seen a dip in numbers of COVID 19 and ‘flu from the January peak, there are still high levels of respiratory illness circulating and impacting our hospitals. Those who believe they may be seriously ill and require emergency care should come to hospital, but we would ask others who are not seriously ill, to consider seeking support from pharmacists, GPs, GP Out of Hours Services and Injury Units”.

He added “A number of surge measures have been put in place as part of the HSE Urgent and Emergency Care Plan to reduce the number of patients waiting on trolleys for an acute bed and reduce the number of patients over the age of 75 waiting in emergency departments after a decision has been made to admit them for ongoing care and treatment.”

Other options available to Dublin Gazette readers, if you are feeling unwell or are injured are:

Pharmacies: you can visit your local pharmacy if you feel unwell. Pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals. They can give you medicines you can buy without a prescription, medicines you have a prescription for, advice on minor illnesses, and can tell you if you need to see a GP.

GPs and GP Out-of-Hours Services: GPs are running additional clinics during this time of high pressure. If you urgently need to see a GP outside their clinic hours, you can contact your local GP out-of-hours service.

Injury Units: these units will treat injuries that are not life-threatening. For example, broken bones, dislocations and burns. You do not need an appointment. There are 11 HSE Injury Unit Locations, you can find one close to you on the HSE website: www2.hse.ie/services/injury-units/.

The HSE appreciates the work of GPs and for their continuing support as they run additional clinics during this time of high pressure. Hospitals have also partnered with private hospitals to access additional beds, and this has added 145 beds to those available nationally for urgent or emergency admissions.

The HSE would like to thank all health service staff for their commitment to working through an extremely difficult and pressured period, including covering for staff who may be unwell.

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