There are currently more than 10,000 HSE employees out of work due to illness or other problems as concerns mount over the high absenteeism rate at a time when emergency departments are experiencing some of the highest attendances in their history.
About 2% are out with Covid and about 2% are out with the flu. Between 4 and 4.5 pieces are out for other reasons.
The Irish Independent reported this morning that the absenteeism rate was at least 4.5% following an HSE news conference yesterday afternoon.
Updated figures were not provided in time for publication, but the NHS confirmed this morning that the absenteeism rate is now around 8% of the workforce.
An HSE spokesman said between 10,000 and 11,000 were currently on sick leave.
It is the very young and the elderly who bear the brunt of the flu season, with children under the age of four and people over the age of 65 experiencing the highest rates of infections and hospitalizations.
The number of trolleys dropped to 535 today, from 639 yesterday to 931 on Tuesday, but Dr John Cuddihy, acting director of public health for the HSE, said: “It’s likely we will see significant and sustained increase week on week in cases notified of influenza over at least the next three to four weeks”, reports Independent.
He said this could also lead to an increase in hospitalizations. The average waiting time is currently 8.3 hours for all patients and 13.8 hours for inpatients.
Some of the patients treated in private hospital beds in Dublin are believed to have been transferred from Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda.
The rise in respiratory illnesses added further stress to emergency departments that were already grappling with capacity constraints. There were 883 cases of flu in children under four, with 283 hospitalised.
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