28 May 2021

 Hospital services across the West and North West will face ongoing service disruptions into next week as a result of the ransomware attack on the HSE IT systems. Work is ongoing to get priority systems back including radiology, diagnostic and patient information systems which are essential for the delivery of safe care.

Ms Chris Kane, General Manager at Galway University Hospitals said,

Steady progress is being made in getting vital clinical systems back up and running. This has to be done in a very safe way and we anticipate it will take a number of weeks.

For now maternity services, dialysis treatment, chemotherapy treatment and physiotherapy appointments are going ahead. On Wednesday (26 May) we resumed radiotherapy services for patients undergoing treatment.

Some elective orthopaedic procedures will be going ahead in Merlin Park University Hospital next week along with some surgical day ward and urgent/time-sensitive procedures in University Hospital Galway. In these cases we will contact the patients directly to confirm that their appointment will go ahead.

Unfortunately we are not yet in a position to resume outpatient appointments, or other elective inpatient and day case procedures.

Where possible we are asking patients to bring their existing patient number or board number with them when they come to the hospital or any letter that they have received from the hospital as this will contain information which will make it easier for us to find existing medical records. Patients should also bring a current list of medications or prescriptions.

Ms Chris Kane continued,

We recognise how difficult these disruptions are for patients particularly those who have been waiting a long time for an appointment and we would like to thank patients and their families for their ongoing support at this time.

We are working hard to find interim solutions and options so that we can reintroduce some services as soon as possible. As services resume, we will contact patients to let them know and we will update hospital service information on hse.ie and saolta.ie.

Overview of current hospital disruptions:

 CANCELLATIONS

  • Outpatient clinics (apart from Maternity clinics) are cancelled.
  • Diagnostics including x-ray, CT scans, MRI appointments and cardiac investigations are cancelled.
  • Endoscopy services are cancelled.
  • Most elective inpatient and day case procedures are cancelled. A number of orthopaedic procedures will go ahead in Merlin Park and a number of surgical day ward and urgent/time-sensitive procedures will go ahead in UHG. In these cases patients will be contacted directly to confirm that their appointment will go ahead. Patients are asked not to come to the hospital unless contacted directly.

MATERNITY SERVICES

All maternity services including antenatal scanning are going ahead.

Women are being contacted directly in relation to their colposcopy appointments.

DIALYSIS

Patients should attend their dialysis appointments unless contacted and advised otherwise.

CHEMOTHERAPY

Patients who are due to attend the Haematology/Oncology Day Ward for chemotherapy treatment are asked to telephone 091 544890 or 087 9200753 between 9am and 5pm for advice on their appointment.  The hospital is trying to accommodate day case chemotherapy where possible.

RADIOTHERAPY

Services have restarted for patients who are undergoing treatment. Patients who are due to start treatment will be contacted by the hospital directly. Patients who have questions about their radiotherapy treatment can call the following numbers for advice: 091 542603 (radiotherapy booking) or 091 542607 (nursing) or 091 542523 (admin) between 9am and 4pm.

RAPID ACCESS LUNG SERVICE

Patients who are due to attend the Rapid Access Lung Service at University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park University Hospital are asked to telephone 087 702 4370 or 087 405 7106 between 9am and 5pm for advice on their appointment.

EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT

The Emergency Department is still open for all emergencies. Patients needing urgent care will be prioritised. Patients can expect significant delays in the Emergency Department as existing IT systems are not in use and the manual workarounds in place are time-consuming. We ask patients to contact their GP or GP Out Of Hours Service in the first instance if their health problem is not urgent.

Ongoing updates on service disruptions will be provided on hse.ie and on saolta.ie.