Disruptions to health services are set to continue as the country braces itself for a worsening in the weather.
Met Éireann has now extended its Status Red weather alert to include the entire country and people are being warned to stay indoors from 4pm on Thursday (March 1) to 3pm on Friday (March 2).
At a meeting of the HSE's National Crisis Management Team on Wednesday, a decision was taken to only have essential public services operating in areas with a Red Warning.
"For our hospitals, this will mean cancellation of non-urgent outpatients and most elective work. We are endeavouring to ensure that where appointments, clinics and certain services are cancelled and postponed, that our staff contact those affected directly. However, if anyone is due to attend at an appointment over the next two days, they should ring in advance and check that it is still going ahead," the HSE said.
It insisted that it Is doing ‘everything possible to maintain all essential services', particularly services for vulnerable members of the community.
"Where it is safe to do so, we are asking people to consider checking in on elderly or vulnerable members of the community, and to make sure they have supplies of food, fuel, water and medicines," it added.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has announced that any health service staff who cannot get to work, or whose workplace is closed, will receive emergency leave and pay and will not have to make up time.
He added that the HSE will find a way ‘to acknowledge the efforts of all who are working and keeping vital services going'.
Updates on the situation can be found here