Statement from Galway University Hospitals
Chris Kane, Manager at Galway University Hospitals has this week said that the hospital is working hard to ensure it can manage the increasing number of COVID-19 positive patients who are attending University Hospital Galway.
“We are all aware of the really significant increase in the number of positive cases in our country. Since early September in particular, on an almost daily basis the number of cases have increased in Galway. It is very likely that increased cases in the community will result in increased numbers of patients hospitalised and an increase in the number of people who will need ICU care.
“Over the last month we have seen a gradual but significant increase in the number of COVID-19 positive patients attending UHG. We have plans and measures in place to manage further increases in patients both in our dedicated COVID-19 areas and our ICU; however we are really concerned about the impact of this increase on non-COVID patients. While we have managed over the last number of months to resume planned patient procedures and clinics that had been deferred before the summer, maintaining these will become increasingly difficult as the number of COVID-19 positive patients in the hospital increase.
“Where we can, we are continuing to provide virtual or telephone consultations. Where these are not clinically appropriate we are working really hard to ensure that our patients are safe by reducing the numbers waiting at any given time and staggering our appointments. We have implemented a texting system in a number of services to allow patients wait for their appointments in their car which minimises the need for groups of people to congregate in any area.
“We are appealing to the community in Galway City and County to follow the advice provided by the HSE to help slow the spread of COVID-19. We all need to reduce the number of people we interact with, wear a mask and wash our hands and maintain social distance. It has been a really difficult 2020 so far and many have made huge sacrifices but if we want to stop the further spread of this infection we all have to continue do the right thing. It is our individual actions which will have a significant impact on the spread of this virus.
“The hospital is a very busy campus and those who have to attend should be aware of the importance to ensure social distancing. To help us do this, we are asking patients not to attend their appointment early, they should come to the hospital alone unless they need support in which case only one other person should accompany them. We also remind everyone of the importance of wearing face masks, washing or sanitising their hands regularly and cough and sneeze etiquette.”
Dr John O’Donnell , Consultant in Emergency Medicine at University Hospital Galway added, “We are continuing to see high numbers of patients at our Emergency Department in UHG and we have put measures in place since the outset of this pandemic to protect our patients as best as we can.
“Patients attending the ED are streamed into non COVID-19 and suspect or positive COVID-19 and work is currently underway on site in UHG to increase the space to enable us continue to see patients waiting admission. Patients with urgent symptoms of heart attack or stroke or any other serious illness or injury should always come to the Emergency Department and not delay seeking treatment. Non-urgent or routine patients should contact their GP or GP out of hours service in the first instance. We are working really hard to ensure that we maintain a safe environment for our patients and staff but we are also dependent on the public doing their part. Again we are asking the people of Galway to follow the HSE’s public health advice to slow the rate of COVID 19 transmission and enable us to continue to deliver critical front line health services.”