Hospitals are facing big challenges with "exhausted hospital staff" under significant pressure this winter, the HSE chief Paul Reid has said.
“As we look forward to the big challenges, big challenges as we look head into winter, big challenges about getting back to non-Covid care, big challenges in relation to our waiting lists - they are all the plans that we are putting in place now to address those challenges,” he told RTÉ news over the weekend.
He also mentioned the challenge of the recent HSE cyber-attack and measures being put in place to deal with such threats in the future.
“Throughout Covid our primary focus was about protecting the public, patients and our staff, but we do know the impact in terms of non-Covid care, in terms of mental health and physical health. All of our medical workforce are really anxious that we get back to prioritising all levels of care,” he said.
He repeated concerns on radio this morning, also.
“It’s going to be a very difficult winter. Our staff are exhausted,” he told Newstalk's Breakfast Show.
A number of initiatives were going to be introduced to cope with the pressures on the health service during this “challenging time”, he stressed.
The measures included a procurement agreement with private hospitals providing 1,000 bed days per week for non-Covid care. There will also be extra capacity for operating theatres and clinics and the National Treatment Purchase Fund.
On Sunday, it was announced that 1,384 new cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed. A total of 382 of these had been hospitalised, with 74 in ICU.
These figures represent an increase of 23 per cent.
He added that Covid-19 continues to have a “disproportionate” effect on the health service
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