Patients attending the emergency department (ED ) of University Hospital Galway are facing long waiting times to be admitted to wards for treatment due to the ongoing pressure on bed availability.
Hospital authorities reported that the facility was "extremely busy" on Tuesday and apologised to patients and their families for the delays.
There were a total of 41 patients awaiting beds then at UHG, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation's trolley watch figures. Some 36 of these were waiting in the ED while five were accommodated in wards elsewhere.
The statistics for UHG were the third highest number in the country on Tuesday after Limerick University Hospital (61 ) and Cork University Hospital (58 ).
A total of 33 patients were waiting for beds yesterday (Wednesday ) at UHG. The INMO said that 30 were on trolleys in the ED and three were awaiting beds in wards elsewhere. Two of the total number of patients were under 16 years.
A spokesperson for the Saolta University Health Care Group, which runs the public hospitals in the west and north-west, appealed to patients to only attend the ED if necessary.
"Given the volume of patients attending the emergency department, the hospital is asking the public to contact their GP during normal surgery hours or the Westdoc GP out-of-hours service in the first instance if their health problem is not urgent.
"In addition, the injury unit in Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, 365 days a year, to treat a range of injuries in both adults and children over five years of age."
The spokesperson said the hospital is committed to treating everyone who presents at the ED. "People who are seriously injured or ill are assessed and treated as a priority and those who do not require urgent care may be waiting longer.
"As part of the hospital's Covid-19 measures, we ask that patients wait in the ED alone to help maintain social distancing. A companion will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances. This is to minimise the risk of infection and to keep everyone safe. We remind patients to please wear a face covering/mask when in the ED and to comply with any Covid-19 screening processes."