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Pressure on ICU leading some hospitals to cancel scheduled procedures, says HSE clinical chief

Dr Colm Henry said the hospital system is currently able to cope with the “surge” in Covid-19 cases.

Image: Sam Boal

THE HSE’S CHIEF clinical officer said scheduled procedures are being cancelled in some hospitals because of the pressure on intensive care (ICU) services.

Dr Colm Henry said one out of every three ICU beds is being occupied by a patient with Covid-19 and the pressure caused by this unscheduled care is forcing the cancellation of planned procedures. 

Dr Henry said hospitals are making mitigation efforts, such as exchanging patients between facilities.

Despite these difficulties, Dr Henry said the hospital system is currently able to cope with the “surge” in Covid cases.

He added that intensive care capacity is being expanded but noted that it “isn’t indefinite in terms of its ability to absorb all the pressures that have been heaped upon it.”

“The hospitals are well used to – during periods of surge over many winters before the pandemic – bringing in mitigation actions, including, but not limited to, cancellation of elective activity,” Dr Henry told Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1.

Dr Henry also praised healthcare workers for the low levels of hospital-acquired Covid infections.

He said the low level, compared with earlier stages of the pandemic, was not solely due to high vaccination figures, but also due to the actions of hospital staff.

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The Department of Health reported 3,726 new cases of the coronavirus disease yesterday, the highest number of daily cases since January.

Ireland’s record daily case total also came in January when 8,248 new cases were recorded on a single day.

The latest figures reveal that there are 460 patients with Covid-19 in hospital, including 90 in intensive care. The 14-day incidence stands at 695 per 100,000, an increase of 18% on last week.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said yesterday that he is not currently contemplating reintroducing restrictions despite the uptick in cases of Covid-19.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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