The Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar.

HSE urge public to consider all available care options

Message from hospitals and Community Health Services for the midlands

Hospitals in Mullingar, Tullamore and Portlaoise are experiencing high levels of activity this week due to ongoing high illness rates related to winter viruses.

As of 2pm today (Tuesday January 23, 2024), across the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group there were 58 patients on trolleys and 96 additional surge beds open. At midnight there were 53 people awaiting discharge.

The latest information suggests that influenza levels seem to have peaked – however, there will be ongoing high levels of health service activity arising from winter viruses for a number of weeks.

The HSE are urging the public to consider all available care options, including injury units, their GPs, and local pharmacies if they have a minor ailment.

Injury units are designed to treat injuries that are unlikely to need hospital admission and can treat someone with a non-life threatening injury like a sprain, broken bone or a minor cut or burn. Treatment such as X-rays, plaster casts and wound care are also available in an injury unit.

Attending the ED with a minor injury will result in a longer waiting time to be seen as staff prioritise patient urgent and emergency cases.

You do not need an appointment for an injury unit and there is no charge if you have a GP referral letter or are a medical cardholder.

To find out where your nearest injury unit is, see the HSE website

Patients who attend EDs for routine and non-urgent treatment are being advised that they will experience long waiting times.

The HSE regret this delay and are asking all to help staff through a challenging time by:

• Considering all healthcare options before attending ED including Injury Units, GP services and pharmacies

• Dialling 999 or 112 for emergency care if there is concern for serious illness or injury

• Maintaining good hand hygiene practices at all times and in particular when entering and leaving hospital

• Following all infection control measures if visiting hospital including recommended mask wearing. Visitors should not visit if they have any respiratory like symptoms.

As always, 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.

All hospitals have been working hard to ensure patients who need emergency care are prioritised and that the hospital can respond to the additional pressures associated with respiratory illness at this time of year.

Unfortunately, people attending with less serious illness or injury will experience longer waiting times.

Hospitals are working together with community partners to ensure that those patients who can be treated in alternative services are treated in those locations, which avoids hospital attendance and are also providing support to ensure patients are discharged home or to other appropriate facilities, once they are clinically fit for discharge.

This enables continuous focus remaining on patient flow through hospitals.

The HSE ask people to consider all healthcare options at this time including the injury units in Mullingar, Roscommon and Nenagh.

You can visit if you are unsure of who can attend this service.