Galway’s public hospitals are deferring all but very urgent appointments from today while they deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Saolta Hospital Group is deferring all non-urgent inpatient, day surgery, diagnostics tests and outpatient appointments until further notice to ensure it has the capacity to deal with any increase in suspected and confirmed Covid-19 coronavirus cases.
This move applies to all hospitals in the Saolta Group, which includes University Hospital Galway, Merlin Park Hospital, and Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe.
“A small number of urgent cancer and time critical procedures, appointments or tests will proceed,” a spokesperson for the Saolta Group said.
The statement from the Saolta Group said that patients have been notified whether or not their appointments have been deferred.
“We would also ask those patients who are attending not to bring anyone with them unless it is absolutely necessary and children are not permitted to attend with patients. This situation continues to evolve and we will keep patients updated.”
Visiting restrictions which were imposed last week are continuing at all hospitals until further notice, except for end of life situations or other exceptional circumstances which have been agreed with a ward manager ahead of visiting.
In order to arrange a visit, families should telephone the hospital and ask to speak with the relevant ward manager to see if a visit can be facilitated.
Children in particular should not visit patients at hospital, and anyone with a fever or respiratory symptoms is also asked to stay away.
“We recognise that the visiting restrictions are very difficult for patients and their families, however, our priority must be to protect the patients in the hospital who are vulnerable to infection,” the spokesperson said, thanking the public for their cooperation.
In addition, people are advised to only attend the Emergency Department at Galway’s hospitals if their situation is truly urgent.
There have been 169 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland to date, with two deaths, after 79 more cases were confirmed over the weekend.