State needs to respond to concerns of medical profession on Covid-19

24 February 2020

Labour Party Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, has called on the HSE to outline how exactly they plan to deal with capacity issues in light of stark warnings from Irish doctors and consultants of a Covid-19 threat.

Deputy Kelly said:

“It is extremely worrying to hear on the radio today and read in yesterday’s Sunday Business  Post, that leading Irish medical practitioners believe that the Irish heath service is not prepared to deal with the threat of Covid-19.

“I have spoken to Minister Harris this morning, and there is a need for cross-party consensus in how we approach this issue.

“I will be calling for the Joint Select Committee on Health to be re-established when the Dáil returns on March 5th to deal with issues such as over-crowding, Covid-19 and other ongoing issues in the health service as a matter of priority.

“The fact of the matter is that our hospitals are already suffering with chronic overcrowding issues; we know that the number of ICU beds are completely inadequate for current demand — how will our intensive care units cope if there is a Covid-19 outbreak when these services are already over-stretched.

“We need to see specific detail as to how exactly the State plans to respond to concerns around ICU beds and the lack of isolation facilities if cases of Covid-19 are diagnosed here in Ireland.”

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