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29 Nov 2021

Under pressure intensive care capacity cannot continue indefinitely, says chief clinical officer

Under pressure intensive care capacity cannot continue indefinitely, says chief clinical officer

The strain on Ireland's healthcare system is placing pressure on an increased intensive care capacity, the HSE's chief clinical officer has said. 

Speaking on Morning Ireland on RTE Radio, Dr Colm Henry said the ICU capacity has been increased to over 300 across the country. 

"That intensive care capacity isn't indefinite in terms of its ability to absorb all the pressures heaped upon it," Dr Henry said. 

This morning, 103 of those beds are occupied by people with Covid, Dr Henry said, with the remaining 200 or so occupied by people with serious illness. 

"There will be some cancellations of service where there is a dependency on a particular type of surgery, that's elective in nature for intensive care capacity," Dr Henry said. 

"We are seeing some cancellations locally because of pressures on unscheduled care," Dr Henry confirmed. 

Mitigation measures can be taken, including transferring patients to other intensive care units, Dr Henry said. 

"Hospitals are well-used to, during periods of surges over many winters before pandemic, bringing in mitigation including and not limited to cancellations of elective activity," he said. 

Yesterday, it was announced that there were 3,726 additional cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Ireland. 

Of these, 493 COVID-19 patients were in hospital, with 90 of those patients in intensive care (ICU) on Tuesday evening.

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