HSE under ‘huge pressure’ as 5,200 staff absent due to Covid-19 and 1,400 patients lie on trolleys

Hospitals across Ireland are under “huge pressure” as cases of Covid-19 have increased by 29pc in the last seven days, according to the chief operations officer with the HSE.

Nne O’Connor said there are currently over 5,200 healthcare staff absent due to Covid-19.

As of Wednesday, 1,395 patients were hospitalized with the virus and 55 are in ICU. Ms O’Connor added that this is a “very significant” increase on figures last week.

Ms O’Connor added that about half of these patients were admitted because they had Covid-19.

“It’s about half, so it has been consistently around half of the people in hospital are there because they’re sick from Covid as opposed to coming in with something else and being detected as having Covid,” she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“And as we’ve said consistently throughout the pandemic, in one way that doesn’t really matter to us because if they’re infectious with Covid, they have to be in a Covid ward, in isolation and treated in a particular way. ”

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“In some of our hospitals, some of our not very big hospitals like Sligo and Kerry, a lot of their beds now are taken up with people who have Covid and that means that we can’t bring people in for other reasons.

“I think there’s no doubt that there is some hospital required Covid, if you take Kerry as an example, more than a third of their beds now are for Covid.

“I think the real concern here is the balance across our system in terms of people coming in with Covid and then people presenting in our emergency departments who are very sick and need different types of care.”

Ms O’Connor said some hospitals are having to postpone elective surgeries due to “huge pressure”.

“We’re seeing huge pressure now all around the country and if you take Limerick as an example, they’re under significant pressure in their hospital and also in their community services,” she said.

“This is not just unique to hospitals, we have nursing homes under serious pressure with 60pc of all older person services now with outbreaks.”

Ms O’Connor said staff absence “across the board” is having a serious impact on services.

“And what that means in real terms for people listening is if you go for example to Limerick, yesterday they had serious problems with some of their specialties where you have a consultant and their team out with Covid,” she said.

“I think what a very real concern for us is today, critically whole teams of staff being out, so we have mental health services with the consultant and their whole teams out and this is a real risk for us this week.”

She added that the HSE will be writing to hospitals across the country to give them support to cancel procedures for another “couple of weeks”.

“Many of the sites have canceled a lot of procedures already, we have always tried throughout the pandemic to maintain the critical works, so for people with cancer but it is clear to us that our hospitals cannot continue to do a lot of planned elective work ,” she said.

“It’s really important that our hospitals are as safe as they can be and the only way they can manage the demand, we will have no option unfortunately but to cancel procedures for people. People will be contacted if their appointments are going to be cancelled.”

https://www.independent.ie/news/hse-under-huge-pressure-as-5200-staff-absent-due-to-covid-19-and-1400-patients-lie-on-trolleys-41482141.html HSE under ‘huge pressure’ as 5,200 staff absent due to Covid-19 and 1,400 patients lie on trolleys

Fry Electronics Team

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