HSE asks for "patience and understanding" from the public as it seeks to restore health services
"To members of the public, I would ask for their forbearance as we try to restore all health services to normal levels."
The Health Service Executive has requested "patience, understanding and cooperation" from the general public for the week ahead as it seeks to restore health services to normal levels as quickly as possible.
Following a meeting of the HSE National Crisis Management Team on Sunday, HSE Director General Tony O'Brien acknowledged the "particularly difficult period" for those involved in the delivery of health services over the past five days.
“However, the challenges are far from over and getting our services back to normal is now our main priority," he said, before adding that it could take a fortnight for services to be fully restored.
"To members of the public, I would ask for their forbearance as we try to restore all health services to normal levels," O'Brien continued.
"To our health service staff, I want to thank you for the extraordinary efforts you have put in to keep our services open and operational during the snowy weather and I look forward to your ongoing support over the next two weeks as we strive to return to normality.”
O'Brien's comments were followed by a statement issued via Twitter by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation calling for an Irish public health service state of emergency to be declared for the first two weeks of March.
INMO calls for first two weeks of March to be declared and treated as emergency period in the Irish public health service #rightthingtodo
— Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (@INMO_IRL) March 4, 2018
The HSE Director General has advised the general public to take caution before phoning for an ambulance, as the National Ambulance Service continues to be under pressure and is prioritising emergency calls.
The HSE has cancelled all non-urgent surgeries planned for Monday 5 March. Hospitals will be in touch with patients over the coming weeks to reschedule appointments.
Non-urgent surgeries planned for Tuesday 6 March will be reviewed on Monday, with an announcement to be made on the same day regarding the remainder of the week.
Older members of the public are advised to stay indoors and to keep at least one room heated to 18 degrees, and to be mindful of the risk of slips, trips and falls.
The HSE envisions that a full recovery of services will extend beyond next week.