HSE must confirm ICU capacity is available

18 October 2021
  • Urgent briefing for opposition needed this week

Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith has called on the HSE to ensure that they are in a position to provide surge capacity at short notice should it be required. Calling for a briefing from the Minister and the HSE for opposition spokespeople, Deputy Smith said with indications that the virus is on the rise, it is important this week to put in place a plan for acute hospital capacity and support frontline workers.

Deputy Smith said:

“With case numbers continuing to rise, we need confirmation from the HSE that ICU capacity is available should it be required. Yesterday, only 11 ICU beds were available in the country, including one paediatric bed. The rapid rise in the number of people in hospital with Covid and the increase in those needing critical care shows the need to have extra capacity on hand as cases mount. Indeed, information suggests that last week, infection rates increased among frontline workers. This data is often an indicator of where we are going as a nation and it suggests that hospitals will come under increasing pressure in the coming weeks.

“We need to ensure that the HSE can deploy surge capacity at short notice should we experience a sudden spike in cases and prepare our acute hospitals for the weeks ahead. This is a critical time for our hospitals and our frontline workers. They are exhausted and all analysis shows that the mental wellbeing of frontline workers was impacted as a result of the pandemic. Given the exhaustive nature of their workflows government needs to ensure that workers are protected.

“Later in this week, we will hear from government if we will move to the next stage of reopening. In advance of this, I am calling on the Minister and the HSE to provide a briefing to all opposition spokespeople on the current trajectory of the virus and the plans in place to protect our hospitals. We need to see a detailed plan from government and ensure that hospitals can cope with the additional demands.”

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