HSE severe weather statement - 2nd March 2018

The HSE National Crisis Management Team met again today to review all planning and preparations for the severe cold weather continuing throughout the entire country.

As previously advised the HSE Severe Weather Plan is already in place and continues to be implemented and as such our services are at a heightened level of preparedness throughout the winter months.

However, the HSE would stress that at a local and national level our services are being impacted due to the severity of the weather conditions. For this reason the HSE is asking members of the public to consider the following:

  • Due to the deteriorating weather conditions, our National Ambulance Service is prioritising emergency calls. We are asking people to consider if they have an absolute emergency situation before calling for an ambulance. If you do need to call an ambulance please know or have your Eircode to hand.
  • The HSE has cancelled all non-urgent surgeries planned for Saturday 3rd March. There is no need for patients to contact their hospital. Hospitals will be in touch over the coming weeks to reschedule their appointments. Patients who are scheduled for urgent surgery over the weekend will be contacted by their hospital.
  • 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.
  • Our advice to older people is to stay indoors and to keep at least one room heated to 18 degrees. Wear multiple layers of clothes, have plenty of blankets and socks to keep you warm. Make sure you eat well and keep active and be mindful of risk of slips, trips and falls. If you have a personal alarm, make sure you wear it at all times. Read advice about falls prevention on winterready.ie.
  • The GP Out of Hours service is operational but will face challenges in going to see people in their own homes. We are asking people to bear this in mind if they need to call a GP to their home. There will be delays due to the severe weather conditions.
  • We are advising the public to access our communications channels to get the most up to date information – www.hse.ie/weatherwarning and @HSELive #weatherwarning on Twitter for all the latest regarding HSE services.

Our biggest challenge remains the provision of transport to our patients and staff given the difficulties on our road network. We are continuing to work with our partners including the Defence Forces and voluntary providers to help address the transport challenge. We would like to acknowledge the help received from the Defence Forces, all voluntary providers and indeed other groups and individuals such as the farming community who have helped our services over recent days.

We anticipate further weather challenges over the next three to four days with cold temperatures remaining and possible further snow and frost in the early part of next week. In addition, we envisage that the full recovery will extend through next week as all our services try to get back to normal operations. For those patients with appointments we will provide further guidance as we assess the impact of the severe weather over the weekend. Further information will be made available through our communications channels www.hse.ie/weatherwarning and @HSELive.

Once again we want to acknowledge the heroic efforts of our health service staff in maintaining health services during the current severe weather episode. We continue to hear many examples of staff going the extra mile to ensure that patients and service users receive the treatment they need. To all of our staff we say a heartfelt thank you for your continued dedication to providing a high quality public service.

Go to weather warning updates page

Last updated on: 02 / 03 / 2018