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Holohan urges people to seek help if they need it after seeing empty waiting rooms during his hospital admission

He said hospitals are not just for Covid-19 patients.

Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER Tony Holohan has urged people who have symptoms outside of those linked to Covid-19 to contact their GP and not to avoid the hospital for fear of getting the illness. 

Holohan was speaking after he himself was admitted to hospital yesterday after he began to feel unwell. His admission was not related to coronavirus. 

He said that during his stay, he was concerned by the number of empty beds that lay around him. He urged people who might have illnesses to contact their local GPs or emergency rooms as these medical professionals will be able to guarantee you get the best medical treatment possible. 

He said in a statement: “I would also like to highlight a worrying scene I witnessed during my visit to hospital on Tuesday evening; empty waiting rooms and empty beds. While protecting yourself from COVID-19 is a priority, no one should ignore signs that they may need medical attention for other ailments such as lumps, chest pain or other concerns.

“Please do not ignore any symptom outside of COVID-19. The hospitals are there for all ailments, not just COVID-19.”

Speaking at the nightly Department of Health briefing, Holohan said he was feeling well and had been started on some new medications he hadn’t been on before.

“I responded to some symptoms at an early stage,” he explained, outlining why he decided to seek help in a hospital setting. 

“I did respond quickly and was looked after well at a hospital which was not as busy as it I think it should be. 

“That’s why I’m saying the message to people here listening if you have symptoms that are causing you concern, if you have a concern about a pain, a lump or a new sensation you hadn’t experienced previously, contact your GP or attend an emergency department and let the health service decide what is the best way to protect you.”

Holohan’s words were echoed by Leo Varadkar this evening who urged members of the public to come forward if unwell. 

He explained: “Our hospitals are actually very quiet.”

“We are quite worried about what we call secondary deaths,” he added – saying there were concerns of an increased risk of people dying from heart attacks and other illnesses as the restrictions continued. 

He said capacity had been increased across the health system in preparation for an anticipated surge in cases in coronavirus cases, but stressed that that surge had not arrived yet.

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