Nurses redeployed to intensive care in Irish hospitals as patients increase daily

ireland
Some 1,300 nurses have received intensive care training since last April. Photo: PA Images.
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By Vivienne Clarke

Nurses are being redeployed to intensive care units in Irish hospitals as the number of Covid-19 patients admitted continues to increase daily.

Some 1,300 nurses have received intensive care training since last April and they are now being identified so they can be approached and redeployed, intensive care consultant Dr Michael Power told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

As of this morning, 1,575 people with Covid-19 are being treated in Irish hospitals, including 128 people in intensive care units (ICU).

The availability of staff is a key issue in the provision of intensive care beds, Dr Power explained.

He moved to reassure the redeployed nurses that they would receive every support from ICU colleagues.

Rationing

Dr Power acknowledged there was concern at the steady daily increase in Covid-19 patients in intensive care. There had been 19 in the last 24 hours, he said.

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Last week, admissions to ICU were between 10 and 20 per day, but only four were discharged on Sunday. There has been “a constant increase in presentations,” he said.

When asked about the prospect of the “rationing” of critical care, Dr Power said that would not apply at the moment and that each patient was dealt with on a case by case basis in consultation with their family.

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Dr Power said that at present there 292 ICU beds available, up from 282 last week, and there were 37 critical care beds available.

Some hospitals had called the intensive care ambulance service to transport critically ill patients from one hospital to another to alleviate pressure.

The oxygen supply situation had improved since March and April, he said, with a 50 per cent increase in supply, however there were some “flow” problems internally with hospitals exercising “oxygen economy” which meant “enough but not too much.”

It comes as more Covid-19 cases have been reported in the Republic in the past two weeks than in the first eight months of the pandemic, as Ireland is now reporting one of the highest rates of the virus on the planet.

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