With a ‘Red' weather warning in place over the country today, patients are being warned about major disruptions to health services.
With Hurricane Ophelia expected to batter the country over the coming hours, all outpatient hospital appointments have been cancelled and patients are asked not to attend. Appointments will be rescheduled ‘as soon as possible', the HSE said.
Patients who are scheduled to have a planned procedure today are being asked to contact their hospital to confirm whether it is to go ahead. However with many travel disruptions expected, only urgent procedures will take place.
The HSE also said that only essential community services will operate and for all other non-HSE day and community services, you should contact your provider to see if they are going ahead.
While Emergency Departments (ED) will remain open, priority will be given to the most urgent cases.
The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has said that doctors nationwide are turning up for duty as normal, as they are ‘very conscious of their responsibilities at a time like this'.
Private hospitals have said they are on standby to assist the emergency services and wider health system ‘if any extraordinary pressures arise due to Ophelia'.
Patients with appointments scheduled on Monday and Tuesday in private hospitals are asked to contact them directly with any questions.
Meanwhile, the IMO is also asking the public to avoid using GP services unless it is an emergency.
"With the level of warnings now in place, we want to ensure that GPs are free to deal with genuine emergency cases rather than with more routine business. We are also concerned that people may put themselves at risk by travelling to a GP for something that can been seen more safely in the days ahead. We would ask all members of the public to avoid going to their local GP unless they really need to," commented Dr Padraig McGarry of the IMO.
ALONE, the charity which works with older people in need, is also urging older people, especially those living alone and those with health issues, to take extra care today.
The organisation is calling on the public to check on their older neighbours and assist them if they need to travel during the bad weather.
"Following a status red weather warning from Met Éireann, we are calling on all members of the public to remember their older neighbours living alone and to consider their needs. We're advising older people to be prepared by ensuring they have adequate heat, medication, food and to stay indoors where possible," commented ALONE CEO, Sean Moynihan.
Anyone with concerns for an older person, or older people in need of assistance, can contact ALONE on (01) 679 1032. The charity has volunteers and staff ready to act on requests for assistance, and works in partnership to ensure all calls for assistance are responded to.