Health care professionals warn that the government, health department and the general public could be in serious crisis if health workers are not deployed in Ireland ahead of winter.
Hospitals need to be allowed thousands of new beds and hundreds of new staff. There are a number of vacancies for staff. They point out that winter can be difficult to deal with if these are not addressed immediately.
Hundreds of patients are already waiting for beds. Experts estimate that in the wake of Covid and winter, there will be an unimaginable influx of patients in hospitals this year.
Once trolleys begin to reach patients in the corridors, social distance cannot be maintained there. All this will cause serious problems. Even the trolley crisis that usually occurs in winter is unbearable during this pandemic.
Last year saw a record increase in trolley numbers ahead of the normal flu season. Health workers also point out that last week several hospitals had to cancel their procedures due to pressure from their departments.
Phil Nishigandha, IMO General Secretary, said that without a proper winter plan, patients and staff could not even imagine the hardships they would face. Other patients should not interact with Covid patients. That would make the situation worse.
The €600 million project, which HSE expects to launch this week, should aim at a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to overcrowding in emergency departments.
More than 230 patients have been waiting for beds in hospitals till yesterday. This has been on the rise for weeks. About 90 patients with Covid are currently in hospitals.
The Irish Hospital Consultants Association said at least 2,000 inpatient beds are needed to meet significant challenges this winter.
The ICU bed should be doubled, add 300 psychiatric beds, 1,300 step-down beds, reduce waiting time to a maximum of 18 weeks. In addition, 500 vacant consultant posts should be filled immediately, the association demanded.