CUH suspending all non time-dependent services for fortnight

CUH suspending all non time-dependent services for fortnight

Cork University Hospital, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

CORK University Hospital is suspending all non time-sensitive services for the next fortnight until January 24 as Cork recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases in one day yesterday.

Due to the rapid increase in patients with Covid-19 being admitted to hospitals, and the projections of a continued increase in the coming weeks, CUH has suspended all inpatient, day case, and outpatient services.

Emergency and urgent time-sensitive procedures and care, including cancer care, will continue to be provided. Hospital management said they are experiencing a significant increase in demand, including critical care related to Covid-19.

CUH confirmed that while a considerable number of staff are unavailable for reasons related to Covid-19, some staff have been redeployed to critical areas and have been asked to defer annual leave, while all flexible working time arrangements are also being reviewed:

“We still have an influx of patients coming in and we have to deal with that.”

It came as a record 1,374 new Covid-19 cases were reported in Cork. The number of cases confirmed nationally was 8,248 — another record — and 20 additional deaths were reported.

Michelle Kingston, an emergency department nurse at CUH, said they are struggling as a result of the staff who are unable to work.

“A lot of our staff are out sick with Covid or out because of contacts. That’s the challenge for us,” she said.

HSE chief operations officer, Anne O’Connor told RTÉ that they are “concerned” about a number of sites in Cork.

“We have scaled back on non-Covid work on much of our sites, we are prioritising Covid and there are risks in that both for people who haven’t been able to access services and had appointments cancelled this week.

Dr O’Connor said that the HSE is preparing for 2,500 coronavirus patients in hospital, with up to 400 people in ICU in the coming weeks.

The cancellation of non-time dependent services including inpatient, day case, and outpatient services at CUH came into effect on Friday and it is expected to remain in place until January 24.

Meanwhile, the Inmo has called for new “critical emergency” protocols as hospitals prepare for the number of Covid-19 patients to rise over the coming weeks.

The nurses and midwives union have described the severe pressure that has been placed on the health service due to understaffing and the increased number of patients with the virus.

They have called on the HSE to put together new emergency protocols to combat the virus, including measures such as additional PPE provision, a drastic reduction in footfall throughout hospitals and 24/7 senior management presence across the health service. 

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said that the HSE need to “ramp up safety plans” and introduce “critical emergency protocols”.“We have safety protocols that have been tweaked since March of last year – the level of pandemic we face now means many need a total overhaul or serious upgrade. The EU biological agent directive was adopted in Ireland in November. It requires the HSE to risk assess and adopt their approach to staff safety - this is the ask and the requirement,” she said.

More in this section

Sponsored Content