As thousands of migrants flood into Ireland, Health service is facing massive pressure earlier this winter, says HSE boss – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

As thousands of migrants flood into Ireland, Health service is facing massive pressure earlier this winter, says HSE boss




The HSE Chief Executive said there were a number of key challenges that contributed to mounting pressures early in the winter term, resulting in a high level of unscheduled care activity.

Stephen Mulvany said 304,814 patients had been admitted to emergency department beds so far this year, up 3.4% from the same period in the year before Covid 2019.

According to RTE, he told the Oireachtas health committee that for patients aged 75 and over, emergency department admissions have increased by more than 10% compared to the same period in 2019.

Mulvany said new issues are being faced in maintaining and opening additional beds related to infection prevention and control requirements, staff recruitment and retention challenges.

He said that while hospitalised cases of Covid-19 currently stand at 317 patients, including 11 ICU patients, there remains the possibility of a high incidence of seasonal illness this winter.

The HSE chief added that influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) were also adding to the pressures with 117 influenza cases and 439 RSV cases being reported in the week to 5 November.

Mulvany said there are particular demands on primary and community care services to respond and support the health needs of those seeking international protection.

Fine Gael TD Colm Burke told the committee that some consultants are unable to run clinics because they do not have the nursing staff available.

He also stated that some theatres cannot operate after 4pm.

Mulvany said hospital clinics can proceed with care assistants and consultants who need access to the operating room should have access, but there could be concerns about the complexity of an operation.

Social Democrat co-leader Roisin Shortall criticized the Health Service Executive for what she says failed to deliver new beds in its recent winter plan.

She told the committee that 1,228 extra beds had been promised in recent years, but according to the HSE only 924 had been delivered to date, reports RTE.

The HSE told the committee that to get more beds installed, there are major construction projects to go forward and an additional 119 beds are expected to open by the end of the year, with another 184 beds in the first quarter of next year.

Meanwhile, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organization said there were 626 hospital patients waiting for a hospital bed this morning.

According to INMO’s TrolleyWatch data, 521 patients were waiting in emergency departments, while 105 were waiting in other departments.

Limerick University Hospital has 87 patients on hold, including 58 at Cork University Hospital, 47 at LetterKenny University Hospital and 43 at St James’s Hospital, Dublin.

Figures also show 37 children awaiting hospital beds, including 21 at Children’s Health Ireland, Crumlin.

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