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22/09/2021

WARNING ISSUED: Significant delays for patients at Sligo University Hospital

Changes at Sligo University Hospital in preparation for increase in patients attending with Covid-19

Sligo University Hospital

Patients attending the Emergency Department, outpatient and other appointments at Sligo University Hospital are facing significant delays as the impact of the ransomware attack on the HSE IT systems continues to affect the delivery of hospital services.

Although progress has been made to get priority systems back up and running including radiology, diagnostic/laboratory and patient information systems, many of the supporting systems are still being worked on. This means that there are many manual processes in place for example ordering X-rays and laboratory tests and also getting results back. The hospital’s email system hasn’t been restored which makes communication between different areas of the hospital and outside the hospital more difficult and also much slower.

Dr Karen Harris, Consultant in Emergency Medicine said, “We want to advise patients that they will face delays when they come to the hospital. We regret these delays and are working very hard within the hospital and with HSE IT Services nationally to restore the rest of the systems we need to function efficiently. There are around 80 different interconnected IT systems in use at the hospital making it a complex process to restore and the workarounds in place in the meantime are slowing us down.

“It is simply not an option to postpone appointments and wait until all the systems come back fully. Already we’ve had to cancel a high proportion of appointments since 14 May and it will take many weeks to catch up, particularly as services are running so slowly currently.

“Our advice to patients is to come to appointments if called and to be prepared to face delays. Patients attending the Emergency Department are facing extremely long delays because essential services like blood tests and diagnostic services are taking much longer than usual and this is significantly increasing turnaround times for our patients. Patients needing urgent care will be prioritised.

“We ask patients to contact their GP or GP Out Of Hours Service in the first instance if their health problem is not urgent. We would like to thank all our patients and their families for their support at this difficult time and apologise for the current disruptions and delays.”

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