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Dublin: 4 °C Saturday 14 December, 2019
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Long delays at children's emergency departments due to 'dramatic' spike in viral infections

The three children’s hospitals in Dublin have asked families to go to GPs where possible.

Image: Shutterstock/Rob Hainer

THE THREE CHILDREN’S hospitals in Dublin have asked families to go to GPs where possible rather than attending emergency departments due to more people than usual presenting at EDs.

A statement from the Children’s Hospital Group, which comprises Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital and the National Children’s Hospital in Tallaght, said there has been an increase in attendances over the last month, particularly this week.

“Of particular note is an increase in young children and infants presenting with respiratory infections, in particular a viral infection known as RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). While this occurs every winter, the increase in presentations to our EDs has been more dramatic this season.

“Some babies and children with this virus can become very unwell requiring supportive treatment and prolonged hospital admissions. Based on previous infection control data it is anticipated that this virus will continue to be at peak levels for the next three to four weeks.”

All three children’s EDs remain open, but patients are likely to experience longer delays than normal.

The statement continues: “The hospitals wish to apologise to all patients and their families inconvenienced by this situation, this includes any elective or planned admissions that have had to be postponed.

The Children’s Hospital Group is working closely with the clinical directors and hospital management in the three hospitals to ensure that every effort is made to manage this situation and that those experiencing long waiting times in our Emergency Departments are managed as safely and quickly as possible

“In order to safely manage patients waiting to be admitted, the hospitals are asking families to first go to their GP or out-of-hours GP service in order to reduce attendances to the emergency departments in the three children’s hospitals.

“Considering that this respiratory virus will remain at peak for the next three to four weeks, parents/guardians should also avoid bringing very small babies to social occasions where they may pick up an infection.”

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Órla Ryan

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