A Cork hospital has identified areas within the hospital which would allow it to triple its ventilation capacity in the event of a surge.
As part of its strategy to combat Covid-19 or other serious incidents, Mercy University Hospital (MUH) said it has a surge plan in place.
In the height of the pandemic, MUH added a bed to its intensive care unit (ICU) in 2020, bringing its total ICU capacity to six beds.
The hospital also identified areas within MUH to ventilate patients in the event of a surge, which would triple its ventilation capacity.
A spokesperson for MUH informed The Echo about this surge capacity after concerns were raised about the lack of available critical care beds in Cork in recent days.
HSE reports revealed that there were no critical care beds available at either MUH or Cork University Hospital (CUH) on Monday or Tuesday this week.
However, the MUH spokesperson explained that the hospital has identified space to increase ventilation capacity if needed.
“MUH has a bed capacity of 216 inpatients and 55 day beds, inclusive of 6 ICU critical care beds,” he said.
“In addition, the hospital has a surge plan in the event of a serious incident taking place.
“During the acute phase of Covid the hospital opened an additional ICU bed - the sixth bed - and has identified areas within the hospital to ventilate patients in surge, with infrastructural and equipment capability to triple its potential ventilation capacity,” he added.
MUH also recently installed cabins outside the hospital to expand the capacity of its emergency department (ED) as part of its Covid-19 winter preparations.
Meanwhile, the Mercy is also trialling new technology and systems in a bid to tackle outpatient (OPD) waiting lists at the hospital.
There are currently a total of 6,638 patients on the OPD waiting list.
Of these, 982 patients have received appointments while 5,656 patients are awaiting appointments - more than 2,000 of these patients are waiting over 18 months.
The MUH spokesperson explained that OPD levels of activity are returning in phases in line with national protocols, and that the hospital is currently treating around 75 percent of its previous capacity.
“From a Covid business recovery perspective the hospital is trialling new technology, including telemedicine, and new booking and scheduling systems,” he added.
“The hospital is also working with the NTPF to identify any potential for additional outpatient clinics.”