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Ambulances In Mid-West Region To Avoid UHL In Treating Non-Urgent Patients.

Ambulances operating in the mid-west region, which includes and provides medical services in North Tipperary, are to begin transporting non-urgent 112/999 patients to Ennis General Hospital as and from Monday next, as part of agreed new protocols targeting the easing of pressure on the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).
Same pressures are caused by chronic overcrowding, due to the massive surge in patients experiencing respiratory infections, including Covid-19, Flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus infection (RSV).

So with a doctor shortage in Tipperary and with many doctors failing to answer their telephones, due to work pressure; who decides who is non-urgent?
For example, are mild strokes urgent or non-urgent? If you have a silent stroke, you probably won’t know it unless you happen to have a brain scan and the damage shows up.
We are told an electrocardiogram (ECG) is an important test in any suspected mild heart attacks and should be done within 10 minutes of being admitted to hospital.

Death By Geography.

Back in October 2016 we previously raised this issue.
The distance from Thurles to Ennis is 116.3 km, with a normal travelling time of 1 hr-24 min via R498 and M7. Currently for medical help, the distance from Thurles to the UHL medical facility in Limerick is 78.1 km, with normal travelling time 1 hr-6 min also via R498 and M7, or a difference of 38.2 km. This new agreed regulation now adds a further 18 minutes to those victims suffering heart attacks or strokes, where timing is all important so that the person suffering can be treated quickly.

Since 2009, the Model 4 UHL facility has provided the only 24-hour Emergency Department service for a population over 400,000, taking into account newly arrived refugees, after A&E services were closed, under a Fianna Fáil government, in Ennis and Nenagh and in St John’s Hospital Limerick.

The UL Hospitals Group, which operates the mid-west hospitals, declared a major incident at the UHL ED on last Monday, January 2nd, when management said record levels of patients attending the department could no longer be sustained.

The silence within our rural Thurles community continues. Why?

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