The emergency department at University Hospital Waterford saw a 48% increase in attendance over the weekend, as patients continue to be redirected there following the fire in Wexford General Hospital.
The blaze last Wednesday has left many services reduced or completely closed in Wexford, with the emergency department (ED) unable to function until equipment and supports, including in-patient beds, are restored.
In the meantime, emergency cases are being diverted to University Hospital Waterford (UHW), which has led to a spike in attendance.
“University Hospital Waterford has been significantly impacted by the recent closure of the emergency department in Wexford General Hospital with a 48% increase in emergency department attendances over the weekend at the hospital,” said a spokesman for UHW.
This included 195 ED attendances on Sunday and 192 on Saturday, which “greatly exceed normal numbers”.
Staff from Wexford have been redeployed to hospitals in the region to help with the rising pressures.
Despite the added pressure, there were just four people on trolleys or chairs at UHW on Monday, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.
Any delay ‘unconscionable’
Wexford County Council chairman George Lawlor said leaving a population of 165,000 without an emergency department for much longer is “unconscionable”.
“The notion that we are operating without an emergency department is very worrying and distressing for everyone in the county, because of the possibility that people may succumb to a traumatic situation as a result of having to travel the extra 45 [minutes] or one hour, depending on traffic, to Waterford,” he said.
Wexford General has not been able to confirm a reopening date for the ED as an assessment of the extensive damage continues.
Mr Lawlor said: “We don’t have any word yet, but we would urge the politicians with the resources and the ability to do it, the Minister for Health perhaps, to look at a temporary modular facility. We did that before whilst waiting on a new maternity unit.
“I believe if there is going to be a long del