The HSE’s national director of acute hospitals has warned that the increased number of Covid hospitalisations will have an impact on other hospital services.
Planned procedures were already being cancelled at a rate of 10 per site, Liam Woods told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, all of which would have to be rescheduled as soon as possible.
The HSE was continuing to use private hospitals under the March 2020 agreement to supplement care delivery, added Mr Woods.
But he warned that private hospitals were also facing Covid challenges, while pressure continued to grow on all hospitals and staff.
Intensive care beds
Mr Woods said that the HSE was working daily to get the best use of intensive care beds, with patients being moved between locations when necessary.
There were 43 Covid patients in ICU in University Hospital Limerick today, he said, with 34 in Galway and 31 in Dublin’s Mater Hospital.
There were 1,800 health care workers at present on Covid related sick leave, while at the peak last January and February that figure had been 5,700, he said.
When asked if the HSE should give booster vaccines to healthcare workers, Mr Woods said they would adhere to the advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) and if approved, they would move swiftly.
The target remained to reduce “significantly” the number of unvaccinated people as it was still the best defence against the virus, he said.
It comes after Ministers received a “stark” presentation on the trajectory of Covid-19 over the coming months to Christmas, with warnings of cases rising to 5,000 per day and remaining at a high plateau.
Numbers in ICU are up 22 per cent in the last week, and numbers in hospital are up 41 per cent in the last fortnight, the Cabinet subcommittee on Covid-19 heard on Tuesday evening.
There were 2,193 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed on Tuesday, with 513 people in hospital with the disease, 97 of whom were in intensive care.