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Emergency measures needed to tackle hospital overcrowding, INMO says

HSE boss Paul Reid said today that people being reinfected with Covid-19 is not an unusual occurrence.

THE IRISH NURSES and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called on the HSE to declare the current overcrowding situation in Irish hospitals as an emergency.

The union is recommending that restrictions be put on elective care until at least Easter in order to try and tackle the situation.

Latest figures from the INMO show that there are 570 admitted patients waiting for a hospital bed at healthcare facilities around the country.

It comes as HSE chief executive Paul Reid said that people being reinfected with Covid-19 is not an unusual occurrence.

“We are seeing people who may have had Covid in January … again having Covid, and that’s not an unusual occurrence at this point in time,” Reid told RTE’s Today with Claire Byrne programme.

However, Reid said the level of vaccination is reducing the severity of illness. He said the health service is urging heightened levels of awareness “without heightened levels of anxiety”.

Public health officials announced today that a total of 63,954 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded since last Wednesday.

Reid noted that previous patterns following bank holidays have shown that there tends to be increased levels of the coronavirus in the community and higher hospitalisations.

This is “likely the trajectory that we will see,” he said.

“It certainly feels like from a health perspective, we’re entering something in terms of its significant increased impact,” he said.

Reid noted that some hospitals have had to cancel elective care

The INMO stats show that University Hospital Limerick was the worst affected by hospital overcrowding, with 79 patients waiting.

There were 54 patients waiting for a bed at Letterkenny University Hospital and 40 at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin.

Eight children are also waiting for a bed; three at Children’s Health Ireland Crumlin and five at CHI Temple Street.

“We have been ringing the alarm on this situation for far too long,” INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said.

“We are not in a space in which our health service can cope with 570 patients on trolleys coupled with such high numbers of patients in our hospitals with Covid.”

Ní Sheaghdha called on the HSE to issue a direction to hospitals to cancel elective procedures and prioritise emergency care.

“Our nurses and midwives have been dealing with overcrowding coupled with Covid transmission and are burnt out and exhausted,” she added.

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