Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Kenneth Fox

There are 478 patients waiting for beds this morning, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

410 patients are waiting in the emergency department, while 68 are in wards elsewhere in the hospital.

Galway University Hospital is the most overcrowded this morning with 59 people waiting for beds. University Hospital Limerick is the second most overcrowded with 48 people on trolleys.

It comes as acting chief operations officer for the HSE, Damien McCallion has outlined plans by the health service to combat the anticipated increased demand on services this winter from Covid and flu.

The HSE is trying to plan ahead on the basis of “all possible scenarios”, he told RTÉ News at One. In previous years difficulties in Australia have been repeated in Europe and there have been high hospital admissions during the current winter in Australia.

The focus this winter will be on community care and on keeping patients in the community, he explained. An extra 750 staff were being recruited to enhance community care along with other measures.

There were four key measures, he said – vaccination, for Covid-19 and influenza; additional bed capacity; avoidance and increased flow of operations in hospitals from when patients are admitted through to their discharge

Mr McCallion was responding to a new report which indicated that 25,000 patients had waited more than 24 hours for treatment in the first five months of this year. Of that 25,000, 8,000 were aged over 75 which was a cause for concern, he acknowledged.

Covid continued to have an impact on the health service, he said as the virus necessitated two separate pathways for admission – for Covid and non-Covid patients, infection measures also required single rooms for patients and the virus also had an impact on staffing levels.

A further issue was community outbreaks of Covid which meant a shortage of beds in nursing homes to which patients could previously have been discharged.

Staff at accident and emergency departments would continue to prioritise patients on the basis of the nature of their illness and where and when possible would prefer to treat older patients as a priority

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