Children’s emergency departments under ‘extreme pressure’
CHILDREN’S Health Ireland is experiencing a 50 per cent increase in the number of children presenting to its emergency departments at Tallaght, Crumlin, Temple Street and Blanchardstown.
In a statement issued, Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) said its under “extreme pressure”, with busier than normal winter levels of activity.
CHI said that emergency departments at Temple Street, Crumlin and Tallaght and the urgent care centre at Blanchardstown are seeing a 50 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2019 (the busiest year on record).
According to CHI, this is due to an early rise in seasonal respiratory illnesses and viruses.
An average of 600 patients per day are attending the children’s hospitals, an increase on CHI’s normal expectation of 300 to 400 patients.
Dr Ike Okafor, Clinical Director, Children’s Health Ireland said; “Many Emergency Departments are currently overwhelmed but there has been a huge increase in the number of children presenting to CHI at Temple Street, Crumlin, Connolly and Tallaght.
“Like our colleagues overseas in other children’s hospitals – we are seeing the same pattern.
“We are in a crisis right now with the numbers of patients attending our EDs and UCC [Urgent Care Centre].
“Wait times are extremely long and our staff are doing their best, but they are exhausted and we don’t have the space to accommodate the numbers presenting.
“Our GP colleagues are also under pressure at the moment so wait times are a little longer to see GPs.
“It can be daunting minding a sick child at home, but Under the Weather [website] is a great resource and I’d encourage parents to source information and guidance here.”
To cope with the increase in demand and the resulting pressure on hospital capacity, CHI has reduced some planned elective and routine inpatient admissions for the coming weeks and over the winter period.
CHI said: “We apologise to patients and their families whose children may have to have their procedures postponed at short notice.
“We are making every effort to ensure our patients are looked after and will reschedule these admissions at the soonest possible opportunity.
“CHI wishes to apologise to any families who may have an increased wait for their child to be seen or admitted in one of our hospitals.
“We would urge that parents of children with mild symptoms should seek alternative pathways to enable children who require emergency or urgent care to be prioritised.”