08 Aug 2022

Surgeries canceled with Letterkenny University Hospital 'in crisis mode'


Figures show the hospital is the most overcrowded in the country

Full capacity protocol in place at Letterkenny University Hospital

The INMO said Letterkenny University Hospital is one of those that is in ‘crisis mode’

Surgical procedures at Letterkenny University Hospital have been postponed due to overcrowding.

Figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) show the hospital was the most overcrowded in the country on Thursday morning. Forty patients were waiting for admission with 11 waiting in the emergency department and 20 waiting elsewhere in the hospital.

Management said the hospital is postponing a number of elective procedures so it can redeploy staff to support essential emergency care.

The move comes as the hospital is dealing with an outbreak of Covid-19 and a sharp spike in patients being treated for the disease. The latest figures show the hospital is treating 37 Covid-19 patients, with two of those in ICU.

Long waiting times

In a statement on Thursday, the Saolta University Hospital Group said the hospital is dealing with a significant number of patients presenting to the emergency department, many of whom remain there awaiting a bed. Patients in the emergency department are facing long waiting times.

READ MORE: 50% surge in a week takes Donegal's Covid tests to limit 

The situation has been exacerbated by the rising Covid-19 cases in the community along with the Covid-19 outbreak, management said.

“The hospital has seen a significant increase in patients presenting to the hospital and many of these patients are very sick and need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment,” Saolta said.

All day surgeries due to take place on Friday and next week, along with routine inpatient surgeries scheduled for next week, have been postponed. 

Management said urgent cases will proceed when it is safe to do so and the situation is being kept under constant review. Patients are being contacted directly if their procedure is being postponed.

Out-patient services, ambulatory gynaecology, endoscopy and other non-theatre day cases will proceed.

Management is asking the public to contact their GP during normal surgery hours or the Nowdoc GP out-of-hours service in the first instance if their health problem is not urgent.

'Crisis Mode'

The INMO said the hospital is one of those that is in "crisis mode" and called on the Health Service Executive to implement a “plan B for dealing with the capacity crisis that is escalating within our public acute hospital system”.

Calling for all activity except urgent emergency care to be curtailed in the public hospital system, INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “We know from the INMO TrolleyWatch figures that Regional Hospital Mullingar, Letterkenny University Hospital, Portiuncula University Hospital have been acting in crisis mode in the last 48 hours because of high numbers of people presenting to their respective emergency departments. We have seen incidents this week where ambulances have been rerouted from Wexford to Waterford because of the high levels of overcrowding in Wexford General Hospital. Unless an urgent and workable plan is produced by the HSE, we will continue to see incidents like this well into January and February."


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