Vital role for injury units as hospitals face virus surge

Vital role for injury units as hospitals face virus surge

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Injury Units in Nenagh and Ennis Hospitals and St John’s Limerick will play a vital role in UL Hospitals Group’s ring-fencing of the Emergency Department (ED) at University Hospital Limerick (UL) for treatment of Covid-19 cases and other seriously ill patients during the ongoing public health emergency.

As de-escalation of the region’s main acute hospital continues in anticipation of the Covid-19 surge, all patients with minor injuries—such as suspected broken bones, cuts, bruises, sprains and strains—will be redirected to the Injury Units in Nenagh, Ennis and St John’s for treatment.

To support this redirection of minor injury work, the injury unit at St John’s is moving from five-day to seven-day opening. From this weekend, Saturday March 28th, the facility will open from 8am to 7pm on weekends. And with effect from this Wednesday, March 25th, the unit’s weekday opening hours will also extend, with the facility open until 7pm every day.

Dr Gareth Quin, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at UHL and St John’s Hospital Injury Unit, encouraged patients with minor injuries to attend the Group’s Injury Units. “Our teams of highly experienced doctors, Advanced Nurse Practitioners and nurses, radiographers and physiotherapists, can deliver expert care and treatment for a wide range of injuries including broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns.”

However, patients with minor injuries who feel they are also displaying the symptoms of coronavirus infection should continue to present at the Emergency Department in UHL.

Dr Quin explained: “We anticipate that the Emergency Department will become extremely busy with coronavirus patients and, to reduce demand on the ED, we will redirect patients with minor injuries to St John’s, Ennis and Nenagh, where our well established Injury Units provide an excellent service to patients with minor injuries.”

Outside the Injury Units’ opening hours, patients with minor injuries may defer care to the next day, or attend UHL, where they will be seen and treated in a part of the hospital outside of the Emergency Department.

All query Covid-19 patients will be managed in the ED at UHL. However, the ED will not be providing a swabbing service. The only patients being swabbed in the Emergency Department will be those sick enough to require hospital admission.

Dr Quin reassured the public that patients with heart attacks, strokes and other serious illnesses and injuries will continue to be treated in the ED at UHL.

“We know that the focus of the entire health system in the coming days, weeks and months will be on dealing with coronavirus. However, we want to reassure the people of the Mid-West that patients requiring emergency treatment for heart attacks, strokes and other serious illnesses will continue to be treated to the best of our ability in the Emergency Department at UHL,” he said.

Dr Quin concluded: “The last few weeks have seen enormous levels of planning and preparation for the anticipated surge in Covid-19 related illnesses, and we all stand ready to provide every patient who needs our service with the best care possible.”

The Injury Units at St John’s Ennis and Nenagh have played a strong role in alleviating pressure on the Emergency Department at UHL. Approximately one in three of all emergency presentations across UL Hospitals Group take place within the Injury Units. All three enjoy consistently positive feedback from the patients they treat. There is no charge for patients with full medical cards or patients with a valid medical/GP referral letter.

The Injury Unit at St. John’s Hospital can be contacted on 061-462303. The Injury Unit at Nenagh Hospital is open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, and can be contacted on 067-42311. The Injury Unit at Ennis Hospital is open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, and can be contacted on 065-6863121. For further information, visit www.hse.ie/injuryunits for further information.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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