HSE on alert for plight of the ill and elderly
Health services are on alert to respond to further flooding in the Limerick and Clare border which could leave elderly, disabled and ill people stricken, Bernard Gloster, chief officer for the HSE in the mid-west has said.
He said the two areas which may suffer the most are Castleconnell in Limerick and Clonlara in Clare. "They are the highest-risk areas," he told the Irish Independent.
The HSE has been liaising with the gardaí and local authorities.
"I have put in place a number of responses, should they be required. They include the public health service where there may be issues to do with contaminated flood water," said Mr Gloster. "You deal with it on the assumption it is contaminated.
"Environmental health sections will ensure the water supply is not contaminated with flood water. Those two services are health protection."
He said the health service was on alert for people already known to them, including people with reduced mobility due to age or disability.
"We increase our surveillance of them and make sure we are in contact with them. If there is an evacuation needed, those people are prioritised."
It is also monitoring people with complex health needs who need to be looked after at home.
They may need to be moved to another location.
"They may need dressings and they need to be seen every day, regardless of whether there is a flood or not. We would use the assistance of the local authority, gardaí or Army to access them."
The third group being monitored is older people or those who have disabilities and are living alone, he said, adding: "They would generally be fine but something like a flood could completely disable them."