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The HSE has stated that full recovery is anticipated to extend beyond next week as all our services attempt to return to relative normality this week.

The HSE National Crisis Management Team (NCMT) met yesterday (Sunday 4th March 2018), to continue planning for the restoration of health services in the aftermath of Storm Emma and has asked for patience, understanding and cooperation from members of the public.

Director General of the HSE, Tony O’Brien, said following the meeting: “It has been a particularly difficult period for those involved in the delivery of health services over the past five days. However, the challenges are far from over and getting our services back to normal is now our main priority. To members of the public, I would ask for their forbearance as we try to restore all health services to normal levels.

“To our health service staff, I want to thank you for the extraordinary efforts you have put in to keep our services open and operational during the snowy weather and I look forward to your ongoing support over the next two weeks as we strive to return to normality”.

Following the red weather alert, the HSE has asked that people take into consideration the pressure that has been placed on the National Ambulance Service, that is being forced to prioritise emergency calls. Before phoning for an ambulance, the public are advised to look to alternatives, particularly now that the roads are improving. However, if an ambulance is necessary, it has been asked that they know their Eircodes, or have them to hand.

All non-urgent surgeries planned for Monday 5th March have been cancelled and hospitals will be in touch over the coming weeks to reschedule their appointments. Non urgent surgeries that were planned for Tuesday 6th March will be reviewed and an announcement will be made today regarding the remainder of the week.

Outpatient appointments are due to recommence across all hospitals, with the exception of Wexford General, on Monday (5th March) and patients are asked to alert their hospitals, if they are unable to attend.

Day surgery is also scheduled to proceed in some acute hospitals from Monday. In the event that any day surgery appointments are cancelled and need to be rescheduled, hospitals will contact patients.

The heavy snowfall and poor travel conditions meant that it was not possible to discharge patients who were ready to leave hospital last week, leading to a large number of patients being delayed in hospital. The HSE has appealed for understanding from patients and their families in light of the extreme circumstances and have stated that they will endeavour to facilitate their discharge as soon as possible this week.

Delays in admissions and increased waiting times are predicted over the coming week, due to the gradual discharge of patients and expected increase in emergency department attendances. The HSE has again asked that people consider alternatives to the emergency department, for example, the Minor Injury Units that are available around the country.

The GP Out of Hours service is operational but is experiencing service pressures too. It has been advised that patients consider waiting until the following morning to visit their own GP and to only use the Out of Hours service where highly necessary.

Older people have been advised to remain indoors, to keep at least one room heated to 18 degrees, and to wear their personal alarms at all times, if they have them. As home care provision has been affected by the heavy snowfall, the general public are asked to check in on elderly or vulnerable members of the community, and to ensure that they have supplies of food, fuel, water and medicines.

Further information will be made available through our communications channels www.hse.ie/weatherwarning and @HSELive.

A joint statement issued by Ireland’s Children’s hospitals has advised patients that outpatient clinics and elective and routine procedures will go ahead as planned at each of the three childrens hospitals today (Monday 5th March) but have warned that there may continue to be an impact on some services into early next week.

Patients who had appointments cancelled last week will be contacted by the relevant hospital directly to reschedule their appointment. To keep up to date with the children’s hospitals directly please see; www.olchc.ie, www.cuh.ie, www.tallaghthospital.ie