Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that the Covid-19 virus surge poses a major risk as hospitals reach capacity. He has urged the HSE to revise emergency contingency plans in light of heightened understaffing.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“The Covid-19 virus surge poses a major risk as hospitals reach capacity.
“We saw patients waiting and being treated in ambulances at Letterkenny yesterday.
“This is a serious problem across the island with increasing Covid-19 hospitalisations threatening to outstrip general bed and ICU availability.
“The deals with private hospitals are welcome but it is not a panacea.
“Worker representatives such as the INMO believe that there needs to be new critical emergency protocols put in place urgently.
“There is a need to reduce footfall to the minimum possible level to keep workers safe and we must ensure access to childcare for frontline hospital staff.
“The closure of schools, while necessary, presents difficulties for parents who must physically attend work, especially those working in hospitals.
“It is unfortunately likely that hospitalisations and Covid-19 related deaths will continue to increase over the next two weeks, despite an expected downturn in case numbers.
“The number of available ICU beds is still short of the 305 promised, with 291 available as of today and if surge capacity is used it will result in further delays and missed care.
“While that cannot be avoided and is necessary, it is a reminder that we can no longer afford to underinvest in healthcare.
“As we work to bring the community transmission rate down it is obvious that a huge amount of non-Covid care has been lost and will continue to be lost in the time ahead.
“We need to start planning now to ensure that missed care is caught up with as soon as possible.”