January 18, 2021
ICU capacity under pressure as Health Service faces most challenging week yet – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that the Health Service is likely to face its most challenging week yet this week, as ICU capacity fills up and places additional pressure on the health system.

He said that maximum private capacity must be used to guarantee safety of patients and staff.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The Health Service is likely facing its most challenging week yet in the week ahead.

“ICU capacity is under severe pressure, with surge capacity being used all across the state.

“We are dangerously close to using full surge capacity and likely will this week.

“Much urgent and time-sensitive care will be delayed as a result, which will have consequences down the line.

“Staff are exhausted and not enough was done since the spring to inject more capacity into the health service.

“When surge capacity is used, it means the situation is nearly out of control.

“Hopefully, we won’t get to that point, but we need to plan for the worst-case scenario.

“This has to be in place even if we don’t need it. It is better to be prepared.

“The HSE currently have deals with most private hospitals but only for 30% capacity.

“We have maybe 40-50 ICU beds available for us in the private system, but there are up to 100 critical care and high dependency beds available in the private system.

“We need to be leveraging 100% of these beds as they are fully staffed, as well as additional hospital beds as needed to keep pressure off of public hospitals which are overwhelmed.

“This can deliver some continuity of care. We need to be separating covid and non-covid patients so that urgent non-covid care can be delivered safely, for patients and for staff.”

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