Health Minister warns of “unprecedented, never before seen level of demand” facing children's hospitals

Parents have been urged to avoid attending any of Dublin's children's hospitals this weekend "except in the case of emergency"

The Health Minister is appealing to parents to avoid visiting children's hospitals in Dublin this weekend - except in the case of an emergency.

Dublin’s three children’s hospitals issued a joint statement yesterday warning parents of “unprecedented demands for admissions” this weekend.

Parents have been urged to contact their family doctor or out-of-hours GP service before attending Emergency Departments after an “increase in patients presenting with respiratory infections particularly in younger children and babies.”

Minister for Health, Simon Harris there is an “unprecedented, never before seen level of demand” facing the children’s facilities this weekend:

Speaking to the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) this morning;  the minister encouraged parents to “follow the advice of those in our hospitals” and contact a family practitioner where possible.

“This will obviously enable your child to be seen quickly and indeed if there is a need to go to the hospital then that decision can be taken in consultation with the GP.”

The Children’s Hospital Group representing Temple Street, Crumlin Children’s Hospital and the children’s hospital in Tallaght have apologised to patients for the increased waiting times this weekend.

In a statement the group said it is working closely with the “Clinical directors and hospital management in the three hospitals to ensure that every effort is made to manage this situation.”

The warning comes after Temple Street was forced to go "off-call for ambulances" on Tuesday following an electrical fault in the building.