Hospitals in Galway and across the Saolta Group are being forced to cancel large amounts of elective surgeries due to crowding in recent days.
The Saolta University Hospital Group runs hospital across the west and north-west of Ireland, including UHG, Merlin Park, and Portiuncula Hospitals in Galway.
The move to cancel many procedures comes as hospitals in Galway have been dealing with high levels of attendance at the A&E, and what are still large numbers of COVID-19 patients.
UHG was the most overcrowded hospital in the country today, with 49 patients on trolleys, while another six at Portiuncula Hospital were also without a bed.
As of Thursday night there were 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at UHG, and a further six at Portiuncula. Five of these in total have been admitted to the intensive care unit.
Tony Canavan, Chief Executive of the Saolta Group, said that surgeries will only ahead if they are urgent, such as in cases of cancer, or life limiting illnesses.
A statement from the Saolta Group to Galway Daily said, “All hospitals across the Saolta University Health Care Group are continuing to experience high levels of emergency attendances along with growing COVID-19 cases.”
“As a result all sites have, to different degrees, been forced to postpone elective inpatient or day case workloads over recent weeks. Patients are being contacted directly if their procedure is being postponed. The situation is being kept under constant review.”
“Planned elective procedures are reviewed on a case by case basis and decisions made based on clinical need. Time sensitive and urgent cases are being prioritised when it is safe to do them.”
“All OPD services, ambulatory day cases such as gynaecology, endoscopy and other non-theatre day cases will proceed.”
“Saolta regrets that patients are having their procedures postponed due to these circumstances and the subsequent bed capacity issues. The hospitals are writing to patients to apologise and explain.”