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An ambulance outside the Emergency Department of the Healing Garden University Hospital Waterford. Eamonn Farrell/

University Hospital Waterford closed to all visitors due to Covid-19 outbreak

Pressures on UHW has intensified since a fire in Wexford General Hospital, after which some patients were transferred to Waterford.

LAST UPDATE | 23 Mar 2023

UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL WATERFORD (UHW) has closed to all visitors “due to an outbreak” of Covid-19.

In a statement to The Journal, a spokesperson for the hospital said “the matter is being reviewed on a daily basis”.

As a result, visiting to the hospital is now reserved for “exceptional circumstances”, such as visiting critically ill patients, children, or those who require special assistance.

This can be arranged by contacting the relevant ward manager.

Earlier yesterday, the hospital also advised patients that it “remains under significant pressure”.

UHW said it had experienced “record attendances in the Emergency Department, causing increased pressure on bed availability”.

It warned that those who do attend the ED for “routine and/or non-urgent treatment will experience long wait times”.

Pressures on UHW have intensified since a fire in Wexford General Hospital on 1 March.

More than 200 patients had to be evacuated from the building, with patients then transferred to UHW, as well as to hospitals in Kilkenny, Dublin and Cork.

A temporary structure was recently erected outside UHW in order to cater for the increase in ED attendances following the fire at Wexford General Hospital.

In the ten days following the fire, University Hospital Waterford experienced a 27% increase in weekday patient presentations, a 41% increase in weekend presentations, as well as a 59% increase in Ambulance arrivals, according to the South/South West Hospital Group.

Waterford Independent TD Matt Shanahan, who was elected to the Dáil following a lengthy campaign based around resourcing for UHW, recently warned that if a plan is not implemented in the short-term, then elective procedures are likely to be cancelled.

Any additional resources would require beds, he said.

“There’s no way that University Hospital, given where we are in terms of outpatient waiting lists, in terms of our already delayed schedule of elective care and the impact this is having on our A&E staff, can continue to provide care not only for the Waterford population but also the A&E capacity of Wexford. It’s impossible to do.”

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