HSE issues warning ahead of bank holiday weekend

Health services are coming under increasing pressure.

The HSE is urging people to “consider all care options” before attending Emergency Departments over the August bank holiday.

Hospitals across the country, including in Cavan, are coming under increasing pressure this year according to the HSE with “record numbers of patients presenting at EDs for care and treatment”.

Included in those figures is “a sharp increase in the number of patients who are seen and treated in the ED and then discharged without requiring admission to hospital”.

“Many of these patients could have been treated at other healthcare services such as Injury Units, GP and GP Out of Hours services and pharmacies”, according to the HSE.

Management in Cavan General Hospital has been forced to issue a number of notices to local GPs in recent months as the facility has come under increased pressure due to the number of patients presenting. It has encouraged people to explore other options if their medical need is not urgent or an emergency.

People who do need emergency care are being told they should still attend an ED but people who are attending for “routine and non-urgent treatment” are being told they will face long wait times.

The HSE says it “regrets this delay” and says it is asking everyone to help its staff through a challenging time for its services by:

  • Considering all healthcare options before attending ED including Injury Units, GP services and pharmacies.
  • Only dialling 112 or 999 for emergency care if there is concern for serious illness or injury. Less urgent calls will face longer waits for an ambulance response.
  • Continuing to wear face masks and maintaining good hand hygiene practices when attending hospitals.
  • Abiding by all infection control measures including visiting restrictions in hospitals and hospital wards.

It also says the National Ambulance Service (NAS) is also extremely busy at present and it prioritises calls so the most seriously ill or injured receive the quickest response.

The HSE has also asked people to consider other options as non life-threatening calls will have longer wait times. In an emergency always call 112/999.

The HSE is also encouraging people to heed advice from An Garda Síochána and slow down this bank holiday weekend. Always wear a seatbelt, stop for a coffee and a nap if you are tired and never drink/take drugs and drive.

People should also be mindful of the dangers around waterways this weekend. Always ensure children are supervised while swimming, swim at lifeguarded waterways and never mix alcohol with water activities.

If you or someone else is seriously ill or needs urgent emergency care do not delay going to ED or dialling 999/112 for help.