Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has said that the surge in Covid-19 hospitalisations will create a massive challenge for critical care as capacity runs low.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“This morning there are only 22 critical care beds available. A number of days ago, this was over 40.
“In 2009, we knew from the bed capacity review that we needed more than 500 ICU beds by 2020.
“The total number of staffed and open critical care beds is now down to 275 from 280 due to staff shortages and infection prevention measures.
“Promises from the Budget have not yet materialised.
“Covid is having a serious impact on our under-resourced hospitals, especially as more hospital staff get sick.
“Using surge capacity will be necessary, but this means cancelling surgeries and redeploying staff.
“This will have serious knock-on effects for all healthcare settings adding to existing delays.
“I have heard great concern from a wide range of groups on the impact this will have on cancer care, scoliosis surgeries, stroke supports, as well as the continued low level of community-based services including care in the home.
“Decades of failure to invest in health are biting hard and leaves us with no choice – we must finalise a value-for-money deal with private hospitals.
“We need to be able to deliver non-Covid care in a non-Covid environment, and private hospitals are our best chance of doing that.”