Hospitalisation surge may push critical care over the brink – David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has said the surge in Covid-19 hospitalisations threatens to push critical care over the brink and cause widespread disruption to normal hospital activity.
Teachta Cullinane said that promises made in Budget 2021 on Health are not being met as the number of critical care beds in the state has not risen and staff shortages are reaching very serious levels.
The Waterford TD said:
“The current rate of Covid-19 hospitalisations may push critical care capacity over the brink.
“This would cause widespread disruption to normal hospital activity as using surge capacity requires deployment of staff and cancellation of elective surgeries.
“This is down to our very poor critical care capacity, which is extremely low by international standards.
“At the start of last year, we had 255 critical care beds open and staffed.
“This was brought up to 280 for the pandemic with surge capacity to 350.
“In 2009, we knew that we needed more than 500 critical care beds by 2020.
“We were promised that, as part of the winter plan, we would have 300 or more ICU beds by now.
“However, the numbers have not changed – there are still only 280 or so available on a daily basis, and surge capacity remains around 350.
“The big promises made by the new Minister ahead of and in Budget 2021 have already fallen short.
“We now need a serious contingency plan for keeping time critical activity going.
“This lack of ambition and delivery will leave us with no choice but to do another deal with private hospitals.
“This must be on the basis of value for money and delivering time critical non-covid care.
“We should look at what extra capacity can be retained to deliver catch-up care.
“We need to take pressure off of our hospitals as Covid-19 hospitalisation rates increase.
“They are now at rates not seen since April and promise to climb further – this is extremely concerning.
“It is now inevitable that surge capacity will be used, and there needs to be a plan in place urgently to keep as much healthcare going as possible.
“We also need a long-term plan for catch-up care to make up for the failure to invest in public healthcare over the last decade.”