Trolley one of the big problems at hospital A&E
The Health Service Executive wants the public consider alternatives to attending Emergency Departments (EDs/A&Es) in Portlaoise and other hospitals but says units will be open 24/7 365 days of the year in the emergencies.
As in previous years - the HSE says EDs expect to see more patients attending this winter. Many of these patients will have complicated illnesses and complex care-needs.
The HSE says this means that the number of patients who need to be admitted to hospital for treatment and care will increase.
While this is likely to increase the waiting times in EDs, the HSE says it can reassure the public that all patients attending an ED will be seen. It says the sickest patients and those requiring urgent treatment and care will be prioritised and seen first.
The HSE statement said flu-like illness and other respiratory infections are very common at this time of year. Most are caused by viruses and these illnesses have a greater impact on older people; those who have underlying illnesses such as COPD, diabetes and heart disease or those with compromised immune systems. The HSE says it is much harder for them to cope with the complications of these illnesses. Many will need GP care and some may be referred into our hospitals for specialist treatment and care.
"As we prioritise treatment and care for the sickest patients and those with life threatening illnesses, it means that patients with less serious illnesses and conditions may need to wait longer for their treatment. That is why we are asking people to think about all of their care and treatment options so we can keep our ED services for the patients who need them most.
"For example, many patients with limb injuries can go to an Injury Unit and others with illnesses needing less urgent treatment can be seen and treated by their GP or referred by their GP to an Assessment Unit the following day.
"On the other hand if you are seriously injured or ill or are worried that your life is at risk, you can be assured that our EDs are open 24/7, 365 days of the year and will assess and treat you as a priority," said the HSE.
The HSE says EDs are "very busy place". It asks that if you or a family member or friend needs to go to the ED for treatment there are some things to help staff provide better care.
"Our staff in the Emergency Department work really hard to make sure our patients receive the best treatment and care. If for any reason you are worried or concerned while you are in the ED please ask our staff for help and advice and help us to help you," said the statement.
For contact details and more information on HSE Acute Hospitals see hse.ie.
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