Concerns for non-Covid patients at UHG as cases & hospitalisations increase


The manager at Galway University Hospitals has said that she is very concerned about how the increase of Covid-19 patients in hospital will affect patients who don’t have the virus.

Chris Kane said that since early September, the number of Covid cases has increased in Galway and that it is very likely that this will result in more people being hospitalised and needing ICU care.

The hospitals have measures and plans in place to manage further increases, but Chris Kane said that there are still huge concerns.

“While we have managed over the last number of months to resume planned patient procedures and clinics that had been deferred before the summer, maintaining these will become increasingly difficult as the number of COVID-19 positive patients in the hospital increase,” she said.

“Where we can, we are continuing to provide virtual or telephone consultations. Where these are not clinically appropriate we are working really hard to ensure that our patients are safe by reducing the numbers waiting at any given time and staggering our appointments.

“We have implemented a texting system in a number of services to allow patients wait for their appointments in their car which minimises the need for groups of people to congregate in any area.”

The Manager also appealed to the community in Galway City and County to follow the advice provided by the HSE to help slow the spread of the disease.

“We all need to reduce the number of people we interact with, wear a mask and wash our hands and maintain social distance,” she said.

“It has been a really difficult 2020 so far and many have made huge sacrifices but if we want to stop the further spread of this infection we all have to continue do the right thing. It is our individual actions which will have a significant impact on the spread of this virus.”

She added that that the hospital is a very busy campus and those who have to attend should be aware of the importance to ensure social distancing.

“To help us do this, we are asking patients not to attend their appointment early, they should come to the hospital alone unless they need support in which case only one other person should accompany them.

“We also remind everyone of the importance of wearing face masks, washing or sanitising their hands regularly and cough and sneeze etiquette.”

Dr John O’Donnell, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at University Hospital Galway, added that there are high numbers of patients at the Emergency Department in UHG.

“Patients attending the ED are streamed into non COVID-19 and suspect or positive COVID-19 and work is currently underway on site in UHG to increase the space to enable us continue to see patients waiting admission,” said Dr O’Donnell.

“Patients with urgent symptoms of heart attack or stroke or any other serious illness or injury should always come to the Emergency Department and not delay seeking treatment. Non-urgent or routine patients should contact their GP or GP out of hours service in the first instance.

“We are working really hard to ensure that we maintain a safe environment for our patients and staff but we are also dependent on the public doing their part. Again we are asking the people of Galway to follow the HSE’s public health advice to slow the rate of COVID 19 transmission and enable us to continue to deliver critical front line health services.”