Message to Families attending Emergency

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Joint Statement Issued by Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital,

National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght Hospital and Children’s Hospital Group

Re : Attending Children's Emergency Department

Wednesday 10th January 2018

Any long wait times for children in Emergency Departments (EDs) is regrettable, while this occurs every winter the number of children attending the three children's hospitals EDs is not unusual for this time of the year, there is an increase in young children and infants presenting with the flu and respiratory infections.  There were 6 patients waiting for admission to an inpatient bed in the three children’s hospitals EDs this morning compared to 12 last week.

What is unusual and of concern is the number of children presenting with the flu and it is anticipated it will continue to peak for the next number of weeks. Some babies and children with this virus can become very unwell requiring supportive treatment and prolonged hospital admissions. As some of these patients require isolation we have increased isolation requirements for patients needing admission which is impacting on waiting times in our EDs.  In the interest of patient safety and to manage the risk of infecting other patients on open wards many of these patients are remaining in our EDs in individual cubicles with their parents and receiving treatment until a suitable inpatient bed becomes available on a ward.

As schools, crèches and other childcare facilities reopen this week and people return to work our advice for any child who gets flu like symptoms is they should stay at home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and parent use over-the-counter remedies like paracetamol to ease flu symptoms.  If parents are worried about their child’s breathing or fluid intake or if any young child or infant is in one of the high-risk groups and develops flu like symptoms they should contact their GP.  Advice for parents, teachers and other school staff to prevent the spread of flu is available on

There are a number of strains of the flu at present. Vaccinations rates are increasing and is the best prevention measure if you have not already done so is to get vaccinated now. There is still time to get the vaccine to prevent the onset of flu or to limit its impact.  We are asking those people in the at risk groups to get the flu vaccine if they have not already done, people in the high risk group include children with chronic illness requiring regular medical follow-ups such as chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, chronic neurological disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders and diabetes as well as those with lower immunity due to disease or treatment and all cancer patients.

The Children’s Hospital Group is working closely with the Clinical Directors and hospital management in the three children’s hospitals to ensure that every effort is made to manage this situation and that those experiencing long waiting times in our Emergency Departments are managed as safely and quickly as possible.

The three children’s EDs are open, however patients attending may experience delays at this time.   Due to the increased amount of Influenza-Like Illness there is restricted visiting in place at Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, see

We would also ask patients who can not make a hospital appointment that they make contact with their hospital to advise them.

The hospitals wish to apologise to all patients inconvenienced by this situation.  In order to safely manage all patients in the EDs, families of children with minor and less urgent complaints are advised to see their GP/out of hours service first, where possible and appropriate.

Further information and advice on flu and other common illnesses are available at the HSE website,