Sinn Féin health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly has said that the health service will have to totally revaluate the way care is delivered as the Minister for Health revealed under questioning in the Dáil that a quarter of public hospital beds could be closed to ensure adherence to new infection control measures.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“As we begin to re-open the health service to deliver essential care alongside Covid-19, the health system will be under significant pressure.
“We have to be honest, there are significant difficulties ahead for the delivery of healthcare. The revelation that a quarter of all public hospital beds could be closed in order ensure adherence to new infection control measures presents a huge challenge.
“We are facing into the possibility that we will have to deliver acute care with 20-25% less public hospital beds pose many challenges, it is important that the health service quickly reevaluates the way care is delivered across the service.
“The loss of so many beds will exacerbate already increasing waiting lists and this means there needs to be a definitive plan to prioritise the most urgent care.
“The loss of these beds means that the health service will have to be more agile, more effective, and more efficient in the use of resources than ever before.
“In order to help our doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers deliver care in this challenging new environment, the State needs to ensure that all sectors of the health service have the funding and resources necessary, from General Practice and primary care, to the acute hospital network, home help and nursing home care.
“We also need to ensure that care is still delivered safely. Therefore, it is welcome that Minister Harris has committed to implementing the safe staffing model agreed with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation in our hospitals.”