Dublin's children's hospitals warn of long delays amid rise in respiratory infections

The hospitals are urging families of children with minor and less urgent complaints to see their GP first

Dublin’s three children’s hospitals have warned that patients may experience severe delays over the coming weeks due to a spike in admissions.

The hospitals said there has been an increase in infants and young children presenting with respiratory infections - particularly a viral infection known as RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus).

The Children’s Hospital Group (CHG) is urging families of children with minor and less urgent complaints to see their GP or out-of-hours service before attending the hospital, “where possible and appropriate.”

Parent and guardians are also advised to avoid bringing very small babies to social occasions where they could pick up an infection for the next three to four weeks.

While the spike occurs every winter, doctors have noticed an even greater increase this year.

A CHG statement said babies and children with RSV can become “very unwell requiring supportive treatment and prolonged hospital admissions.”

Based on previous infection control data, the hospitals have warned that it is likely that the virus will remain at peak levels for the next three to four weeks.

This week has seen particularly high levels of activity at all three hospitals and, while the Emergency Departments remain open, patients may experience long delays.

The hospitals have apologised to all inconvenienced patients, including elective patients that have had procedures postponed.