Hospitals to get back to normal after light attendances on Tuesday
Patients with procedures cancelled over strike may wait days for rescheduled dates
Emergency departments were busy on Tuesday, with 550 patients waiting for admission to a hospital bed in the morning. Photograph: Alan Betson
Hospital services across the State are expected to return largely to normal on Wednesday following the suspension of the nurses’ strike earlier in the week.
Outpatient services operated in most hospitals on Tuesday, but attendances were lighter as some patients did not attend, having been advised last week, before the strike was suspended, that their appointment was cancelled.
It will be some days before patients who had procedures cancelled as a result of three days of industrial action by nurses learn when these will be rescheduled, according to hospital sources.
The Health Service Executive’s advice is for patients with outpatient appointments on Wednesday and Thursday – when the strike was due to take place – to attend as normal. Surgical patients will be contacted by their hospital if their procedure is going ahead.
More than 82,000 patients had their services disrupted over the first three days of strike action earlier this month.
Emergency departments were busy on Tuesday, with 550 patients waiting for admission to a hospital bed in the morning, according to the Irish Nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation. This included 374 in the emergency department and 176 accommodated temporarily on wards.
The worst-hit hospital was University Hospital Limerick with 60 trolley patients, followed by Cork University Hospital and Letterkenny University Hospitals, with 38 each.
Temple Street University Children’s Hospital said normal services were being reinstated and outpatient clinics were running as normal. It advised parents who had an appointment that was cancelled last week before the strike was suspended to attend the clinic as normal “if this is convenient for you”.
Where a child was due to be admitted as an inpatient or day case this week, the hospital says it may already have been informed the admission has been postponed. “In this regard, we are working to reschedule as many admissions and procedures as we can for this week and you will hear directly from Temple Street if we can reschedule your child’s admission.”
The RCSI hospital group – which includes Beaumont, Connolly, Cavan, Drogheda, Louth and the Rotunda hospitals – said patients who had been told their appointment or procedure was cancelled for Tuesday should turn up as normal.
In the private sector, VHI Swift Clinics said they have seen a 10-15 per cent increase in demand, especially among children with respiratory or flu symptoms. The mild weather has seen fewer patients presenting with falls and fractures from icy conditions.