HSE asks public to use A&E for genuine emergencies only amid increased demand

The HSE has asked the public to use the emergency department in Limerick for genuine emergencies only, amid increased demand for services.

The reminder from the Health service comes as The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said that University Hospital Limerick's emergency department is in "utter chaos".

The group claim that 36 patients were on trolleys, in the hospital's emergency department yesterday, leading to concerns about patient safety.

The INMO has renewed its demand on the HSE and government, to take "urgent action".

The HSE said in a statement that all immediate actions are being taken to deal with the increase in demand.

"This time of year is traditionally a busy period for hospitals and brings an anticipated increase in activity in Emergency Departments around the country. Much of this increase can be attributed to increases in the number of people suffering with flu and other seasonal illnesses common at this time of year," the HSE said in a statement.

"The public are reminded to keep Emergency Departments for emergencies and to contact their GP or GP Out of Hours services in the first instance. "

An earlier version of this story applied the HSE's comments to all hospitals, and has been updated following a statement clarifying their advice related to Limerick only.

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