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Filling critical care nursing vacancies must be an urgent priority - David Cullinane TD

5 March, 2021 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane has said that the Minister for Health must ensure that vacant critical care nursing posts - amounting to almost 7.4% of funded positions - must be filled as a matter of urgency.

He was speaking following the publication of the HSE's annual audit of adult critical care capacity.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“On 24th January, our critical care capacity neared breaking point with 330 patients in critical care.

“Thankfully the number did not exceed 350 and with the hard work of critical care professionals the patients received the care they needed.

“That we came so close to a highly dangerous clinically unmanageable scenario is a serious cause for concern; especially as critical care units were not fully staffed due to vacancies.

“This underlines the importance of not just meeting minimum bed and staffing targets but exceeding them. That is especially relevant when we have a highly infectious disease that has put thousands of healthcare workers out of work.

“There are 129 vacant critical care nursing posts identified in the newly published National Adult Critical Care Capacity Census; which is 7.6% of all funded posts.

“If surge capacity is needed again - for Covid or another disease - we need to learn the lessons and be better prepared.

“These vacancies need to be filled urgently to safely staff critical care units.

“This is necessary for the safety and wellbeing of both patients and staff.”

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