Tallaght University Hospital & Community Services update on winter health services

(January 7th 2019) As of 8am today there were 10 patients awaiting admission to a hospital bed in Tallaght University Hospital (TUH). This compares to 18 on the same day last year, a decrease of 44%. While flu like illness has not had a significant impact on numbers attending the Emergency Department (ED) to date, we are now seeing signs that flu levels are rising and expect this will impact on the number of ED attendances and admissions over the coming weeks. The number of patients attending the Adult ED continues to increase year on year with over 50,000 attendances to TUH in 2018.

TUH and Community Services would like to remind the public that it is not too late to get the flu vaccine. The 2017/2018 flu season was very drawn out and the number of outbreaks, confirmed hospitalised cases, ICU cases, and associated deaths exceeded all previous records in Ireland, including the 2009 pandemic. All age groups were affected with a particularly severe impact on older cohorts. There were nearly 5,000 confirmed influenza cases hospitalised last year when compared to nearly 1,500 in the 2016/2017 season.

The flu vaccine has been available from Hospitals, GPs and Pharmacists since early October. TUH and Community Services are calling on all healthcare workers and people in at-risk groups to get the flu vaccine as there still is time to protect ourselves, our patients and our families.

Facts about flu
 Flu causes death and hospitalisation every year
 Flu vaccine is the best protection against flu for at risk groups and health care workers
 You need to get the flu vaccine every season as the viruses change every year
 Flu vaccine contains killed viruses - it cannot give you flu
 Healthcare workers are up to 10 times more likely to get flu
 Healthy people can have flu without any obvious symptoms and pass it on

At-risk groups
We are urging people in at-risk groups to get the flu vaccine. We strongly recommended the vaccine if you:
 are 65 years of age and over
 are pregnant
 have a long-term health condition
 work in healthcare
 are a carer
 live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
 in regular contact with pigs, poultry or water fowl

Prepare: Know where to go when you’re ill
In many situations, the ED is the gateway to hospital treatment and care. We always prioritise treatment and care for the sickest patients and those with life threatening illnesses. For those who are not in need of urgent attention, your GP or Out of Hours Service may provide more appropriate healthcare in a more comfortable setting.

Here is a list of care and treatment options:
 Visit your local pharmacy for treating the common cold
 See your family doctor for all non-urgent illness
 The doctor out of hours service is a high quality clinical service available outside of normal GP surgery hours. TLC DOC is available for those who cannot wait for a routine GP appointment in Tallaght & Clondalkin. GP Co Operatives are established throughout Ireland to assist GPs & Patients providing safe & effective out of hours care in the community. For more information: www.tlcdoc.ie
 Emergency Departments treat seriously injured or ill patients. Those with less severe injuries and symptoms may have to wait to be seen in Emergency Departments.

For further information contact:
Fiona Burke, Communications & Digital Officer, Dublin Midlands Hospital Group
Email: fiona.burke3@hse.ie
Phone: 076 695 9322 / 087 382 8195