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Dublin and Cork hospitals restrict visitors as they deal with high numbers of patients with flu

Children under 12 are not permitted to visit the hospital, it said today.

Image: Shutterstock/Derick Hudson

Updated Jan 3rd 2020, 5:38 PM

HOSPITALS IN DUBLIN and Cork have restricted visitors as they deal with high numbers of patients with flu. 

The Mater Hospital in Dublin has said that it is advising members of the public should only visit the hospital “when absolutely necessary” due to the high levels of patients currently presenting with flu.

In a notice this afternoon, the hospital added that children under the age of 12 will not be permitted to visit the hospital at this time.

Mercy University Hospital in Cork is closing to visitors completely from 8pm tonight due to the high volumes of patients with flu. 

“Visiting is prohibited to the hospital in the interest of patient safety and the hospital is seeking the public’s co-operation with the restrictions,” a spokesperson said in a statement. 

They added that the hospital “will deal with exceptional cases on an individual basis with regard to the children’s wards, ICU and those who are critically ill”. 

The move from the hospitals comes following the latest flu update from the HSE yesterday

The current flu season, which arrived three to four weeks early this year, has led to the death of 22 people to date, 17 of those aged 65 years and older.

Forty-five patients presenting to hospital with the flu have been admitted to intensive care as of New Years’ Day.

In a briefing yesterday on the numbers presenting to emergency department over the Christmas period, HSE Chief Operations Officer Anne O’Connor said presentations and admissions to the emergency departments had decreased compared to last week. However they are tracking significantly higher than the same time last year. 

There has been a significant increase in the number of over 75s attending emergency departments, up 25% year on year. 

Minister of Health Simon Harris said that in some cases of flu, the patient will be able to effectively treat themselves at home, and it’s best to visit UnderTheWeather.ie before attending your GP or, if needed, an ED.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said today that 620 admitted patients were waiting for beds across the country this morning.

There was a record high of 73 patients waiting at Cork University Hospital, with INMO representative Liam Conway saying frontline staff were describing the situation as “horrendous” for both themselves and patients. 

The INMO called for hospitals to implement de-escalation policies including cancelling electives, stopping non-emergency admissions and sourcing extra bed capacity.

Earlier today, there were 23 patients waiting for a bed at the Mater Hospital. Only St Vincent’s had more patients waiting among Dublin hospitals.

With reporting from Christina Finn and Christine Bohan 

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Sean Murray

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