Hospitals move to crisis footing as situations surge

Hospital managers have been told to closest clarify additional intensive care (ICU) capacity to deal with an expected surge in Covid-19-related admissions in the next two weeks.

Health Service Executive chief executive Paul Reid warned of the “unthinkable” consequences of hospital capacity becoming depleted, with the numbers being treated for the disease having increased by 40 per cent in a fortnight.

Concern among Ministers and senior health officials about the current surge in infections has grown and hospitals will now move to a crisis footing. This will see non-urgent care postponed and patients who can be discharged moved on to make space for the expected arrival of more people sick with the disease.

Private hospital capacity will also be used while non-Covid admissions will be avoided if possible to create additional capacity for pandemic-related admissions.

In a letter to hospital managers and the chief executives of the hospital groups, Mr Reid warned that “the complete health system, both hospitals and community healthcare, are now under very serious pressure”.

He said modelling from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) indicates the rise in situations “will not abate, at the minimum in the short term”, meaning that “the pressure on our hospitals will continue to grow, and in turn the situation in ICU will continue to deteriorate”.

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