Hurricane Ophelia to impact health services
A&E departments are expected to be busier than normal on Tuesday while patients can also expect other delays in the wake of Hurricane Ophelia, the HSE has warned.
The health authority said there was a significant impact on the vast majority of health and social care services due to the adverse weather conditions caused by the storm.
While the hurricane conditions are expected to pass over Ireland during the night, some disruption is likely over the coming days due to a number of factors including road conditions, building damage, power outages and disruption to full staffing levels.
Consequently, the HSE says there will be a gradual return to normal services over the next few days. Due to cancelled appointments over the past 24 hours and a subsequent “catch-up” period required, people can expect some delays in their appointments and discharges from hospitals over the next few days.
In the event of a cancellation, people will be contacted by the relevant service. The safety of patients and clients travelling at this time is paramount said the HSE. In the event that patients or clients deem it unsafe to travel for an appointment, the service concerned will reschedule this appointment as quickly as possible.
Community services’ primary focus will be on dealing with the most vulnerable patients and clients in the first instance. This includes discharging elderly patients, whose discharge may have been delayed due to the weather, to the most appropriate facilities as quickly as possible.
Following the significant disruption today, the HSE said it is expected that both Emergency Departments and GP clinics will be very busy tomorrow with increased demands on those services.
In recognition of the response to the weather crisis today the Director General of the HSE, Tony O’Brien said: "Today has been an extremely challenging one for the health services and all other response agencies. The response has been extraordinary and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those involved. The health services’ priority is to restore all of our services as quickly as possible and to deal with the backlog of cancelled appointments that arose due to the weather crisis”.