GPs were informed yesterday afternoon that Bantry General Hospital was under “extreme pressure” and that it could soon reach a point where ICU admissions are rationed.
In a memo,, a senior hospital source informed GPs and healthcare workers that Bantry General was facing increased Covid-19 admissions and reduced staff as well as an outbreak of Covid-19 on the wards.
“BGH is currently under extreme pressure due to the number of severely ill patients with Covid-19 and reduced staff numbers,” the memo said. “In addition, we are in the middle of managing an outbreak on the wards.
“If a GP is contemplating referring someone for admission, the expected benefits of admission must outweigh the significant risks of admission to the current hospital environment.
“We may soon reach a point where ICU admissions are rationed and only offered to those with the best chance of survival,” the memo said.
“The situation is changing rapidly.”
The memo also stated. “We strongly advise admission avoidance for all patients unless absolutely necessary.” The memo explained that Bantry General was on Monday afternoon “rapidly approaching full capacity of ICU beds in the region”.
The stark warning came around the same time as the latest Covid-19 figures were released, revealing almost 700 new cases of the virus in Cork alone.
Dr Ina Kelly, current chair of the Irish Medical Organisation’s (IMO) Public Health committee said:
“Public Health has been overwhelmed for weeks across the country amid the increase in cases.
“The level of hospitalisations is rising to an unmanageable level,” she added.
“While we can’t turn the clock back for the people who require hospitalisation now, we can prevent further cases and prevent even more hospitalisations.
“We need to stop the spread of Covid-19 and everyone has their part to play.”