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Emergency Department of the Mater Hospital, Dublin

Significant increase in emergency department attendances for slips and falls amid cold snap

The HSE is urging people to consider other treatment options before going to A&E for minor injuries.

ACCIDENTS RESULTING FROM the cold and icy weather are leading to a further increase in attendance at emergency departments around the country, adding to pressure on the hospital system, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has said.

The HSE is reminding the public to “consider all available care options”, including injury units, GPs, and local pharmacies before presenting at A&E for an injury from a slip, trip, or fall.

“Injury units are designed to treat injuries that are unlikely to need hospital admission and are perfectly equipped to treat someone with a broken bone, dislocated limb, or sprain,” it said in a statement.

The HSE also urged people to take preventative measures to reduce the risk of falling. These include wearing appropriate footwear, looking up from one’s phone and waiting for paths to thaw before going for walks.

It is expected that extra strain will be put on the health service in the coming weeks, potentially lengthening wait times and reducing the number of hospital beds available.

Dr Colm Henry, HSE Chief Clinical Officer, said: “We have and continue to put a huge focus on reducing wait times for our patients, as this has been shown time and time again to ensure better outcomes for the most ill and vulnerable people arriving into an ED.

“Part of this effort includes giving advice on the most appropriate care options for people, thus cutting down on their wait time and pressures on the EDs.

“In addition, we have introduced a number of measures to speed up hospital discharges and to avoid unnecessary admissions. This helps to free up capacity and reduce waiting times. The next few weeks will see very high pressure on health service capacity, but we are determined to do all we can to minimise waiting times because of these major patient safety considerations.”

Those who are seriously ill or injured are still encouraged to go to an emergency department.

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