Scheduled surgeries and out-patient appointments will be scaled up across the six hospitals in the UL Hospitals Group following a drop in numbers of Covid-19 cases.

The majority of elective surgeries and out-patient appointments were postponed on 4 January due to the significant surge in Covid-19 cases.

In a statement, the group said that the health system remains in a "recovery phase", but as services are a restored on a phased basis, the most urgent patients will be prioritised.

Endoscopy services at University Hospital Limerick and at Ennis, Nenagh and at St. Johns will resume, as well as day theatre and day surgeries at Nenagh and Ennis, and additional theatres lists at St John's Hospital in Limerick city and at the orthopaedic hospital at Croom, along with additional paediatric outpatient appointments.

Plans to restore additional capacity for theatre, diagnostic investigations and outpatient appointments will be announced in the coming weeks.

The visiting ban remains in place across the six hospitals.

UL Hospitals Group Chief Clinical Director Professor Brian Lenehan said that this week marked 12 months since the first patient with Covid-19 was admitted to UHL and "there is hardly a parish in the country that is not by now aware of how devastating a disease it can be."