Galway University Hospitals are deferring all outpatient appointments and all but critical surgery due to rapidly rising COVID-19 cases in hospital.
Starting from Tuesday, January 5, all but “very urgent and time critical inpatient and day surgery” is being cancelled at UHG and Merlin Park Hospital.
Outpatient clinics are similarly being cancelled unless it is absolutely necessary that the patient be seen, though some appointments may take place virtually.
The decision has been made in light of the sustained increase in COVID-19 cases being treated at hospital in Galway in recent days, and the likelihood of a further increase in hospitalisations in the days ahead.
As of 8pm on Sunday evening there were 43 people being treated for COVID-19 at UHG, and three wards at the hospital closed to new admissions due to confirmed cases.
These deferrals will be for a two week period initially, and will be kept under review, the Saolta Group has said.
Chris Kane, Hospital Manager GUH said, “We regret the impact that these deferrals will have on our patients but it is a really important part of maintaining critical and emergency services.
“A small number of urgent cancer and time critical procedures will proceed. Patients will be notified directly if their appointment or procedure is being deferred.”
“It is really important that patients who are attending UHG for a procedure continue to follow all the public health guidance including wearing a face mask.”
“We also remind patients to attend the hospital alone, unless the support of another person is essential.”
Visiting restrictions remain in place at Galway’s hospitals, and people are reminded they should only visit compassionate grounds and these visits should be arranged in advance with the nurse manager on the ward.
“Our Emergency Department continues to be very busy and we again remind that public that we encourage them to attend the Emergency Department only in the case of real emergencies.
“If your health problem is not an emergency you should contact your GP during normal surgery hours or the Westdoc GP out of hours service, in the first instance.”
“Finally it is important to acknowledge, that the COVID-19 vaccination programme is continuing in UHG and 540 staff have now been vaccinated with clinics continuing throughout this week and beyond.
“This is really positive and we are working hard to get all our staff vaccinated as quickly as possible.”