'Huge work' preparing Portlaoise and other Dublin and midlands hospitals for Covid-19

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

coronavirus covid-19

Portlaoise hostpital A&E

A huge amount of work has taken place to prepare for Covid-19 at hospitals in the midlands and Portlaoise according to the executive who oversees the running of hospitals in Dublin and the midlands.

Trevor O’Callaghan is CEO of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group. It includes hospitals in Portlaoise, Naas, Tullamore as well as St James's, Tallaght, The Coombe and St Lukes in Dublin.

Mr O'Callaghan outlined the preparations that have been made.

“In all our hospitals a huge amount of work has taken place over the last number of weeks to prepare for an increase in Covid-19 cases and I want to acknowledge the commitment and dedication of all our staff as we prepare for this unprecedented public health emergency.

"We have moved and reconfigured existing inpatient wards to facilitate the treatment of suspected and confirmed Covid-19 patients in the safest possible way. In our ICUs we have plans for extra critical care capacity to allow us to treat more patients, should that be required and extra critical care equipment have been ordered for all our ICUs and are due for delivery in the coming week.

"Across the hospitals medical, nursing staff and some of our therapy staff have undergone extra specialised training to enable them to support their critical care colleagues as and when the numbers of patients requiring hospital treatment increases.   We have been in contact with the private hospitals in the region and are planning with them how they can support us to deliver care to our patients.

"We have cancelled all but urgent cancer and time-critical procedures, diagnostics and outpatient appointments. We are contacting patients directly to advise them if their appointment is going ahead and reminding all those who are due to attend the hospital, not to do so if they have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

"Visiting restrictions continue in our hospitals with the exception of end-of-life situations and we expect that to continue over the coming weeks. We fully appreciate how difficult that is for our patients and their families but we must do it to protect our patients in the first instance but also our staff,” said Mr O'Callaghan.

 He also reminded the public that Emergency Departments remain open 24/7 for people who are seriously ill or injured and if their life is at risk. He said stroke and heart attacks are life-threatening medical emergencies.

"If you or someone else is showing signs of a stroke or heart attack, don’t wait, call 999," said Mr O'Callaghan.