The Dublin-Midlands hospital group has issued a statement amid overcrowding concerns at most hospitals, including Tullamore.
They have been respondingto numbers like that suggesting 23 people are awaiting a bed at the Tullamore A&E department on Monday, and a further 54 at Portlaoise and Mullingar combined.
This is the group's statement in full:
Traditionally the post-Christmas period is a busy period for all acute hospitals including those in the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group and this remains the case this year.
While attendances at emergency departments within the Group have increased over recent days, the situation is being actively monitored and responded to by all our hospitals.
This response includes increasing the number of ward rounds, planned reduction of elective procedures to create additional capacity, and transferring, where appropriate, patients to other facilities and services. Home care, step down and long term care discharge options, in cooperation with community healthcare colleagues, have also been expanded, where possible. In addition, services such as diagnostics and access to medical assessment units have been extended to deal with current pressures.
The Group would like to acknowledge the hard work of our staff during this busy period.
We expect the current pressure on Emergency Department services to continue for a number of weeks and in order to safely manage all patients in our EDs, people with minor and less urgent medical problems are advised to see their Pharmacy/GP/out of hours service in the first instance, where possible and appropriate.
In addition, with the incidence of flu-like symptoms circulating in the community increasing we would remind people of the importance of getting the flu vaccination, particularly for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, those with existing conditions or pregnant women. Flu rates are above the baseline threshold a level which means that flu is actively circulating in the community according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centrewww.hpsc.ie. It is still timely to get vaccinated against influenza, as the number of reported cases of influenza-like Illness (ILI) in Ireland has increased in the past three weeks.
Flu activity will continue to increase in the community for at least the next four to six weeks and Hospitals in the Group are seeing increasing numbers of people presenting with flu illness and this is impacting on already busy Emergency Departments.
Hospitals are asking people to refrain from visiting hospitals if you or your close family have flu like symptoms. If you are concerned, please contact the Hospital in advance of visiting patients in Hospital.
High-risk groups are:
Those individuals in the ‘at risk’ groups can get the vaccine for free as they are at much greater risk of becoming seriously unwell if they catch flu, with many ending up in hospital.
Most people, unless they are in an at risk group, will get better themselves at home. Advice, tips, information and videos on getting over flu and other common illnesses are available at the HSE website,www.undertheweather.ie. The site was developed by the HSE along with GPs and pharmacists and is a great resource for people to get advice and get better.
The symptoms of influenza usually develop over a matter of a few hours and include a high temperature, sore muscles, dry cough, headache and sore throat. This is different from the common cold, which tends to come on more gradually and usually includes a runny nose and a normal temperature.
Anyone who gets flu should stay at home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and use over-the-counter remedies like paracetamol to ease symptoms. Anyone in one of the high-risk groups should contact their GP if they develop influenza symptoms.
Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, disposing of the tissue as soon as possible and cleaning your hands as soon as you can are important measures in helping prevent the spread of influenza and other germs and reducing the risk of transmission.
Here are 10 essential facts about colds and flu:
If you do have a cold or any other common illness, see www.undertheweather.ie – to get advice and get better.
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