Over 730 Covid patients in hospitals as virus surge puts healthcare under strain

Over 730 Covid Patients In Hospitals As Virus Surge Puts Healthcare Under Strain
Doctors have been asked to consider working longer shifts and weekends to cope with the surge in viruses. Photo: PA
Share this article

The surge in Covid-19 cases has increased pressure on the healthcare system as the number of hospital patients with the virus jumped to a five-month high.

Some 737 people are in hospital with Covid-19, including 35 people in intensive care units, as of 8am on Wednesday. There has also been an uptick in admissions for flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in recent weeks.


It comes as doctors nationwide have been asked to consider working longer shifts and weekends to cope with the surge in viruses.

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) told GPs in a letter that extra supports would be offered to those who had the capacity to keep their practices open later into the evenings and on Saturdays. It asked GPs to consider staying open until 7pm on weekdays and from 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

The proposal followed a meeting between the IMO and HSE on how to relieve pressure on hospitals.


The HSE had agreed to provide additional funding for GPs to run more clinics during the current “exceptional period” facing the health service until February 3rd, it said.

The HSE also committed to provide more funding to out-of-hours GP services, to allow them to roster extra doctors from 6pm-10pm.

The IMO said the HSE hoped an extra 100 doctors could be encouraged to work in out-of-hours services during the coming weeks as a result of the extra funding.

Dr Ilona Duffy, a GP based in Co Monaghan, said doctors are not blame for the strain on the health system and they must be protected.


She told Newstalk radio on Wednesday: "We limit the amount of hours that a pilot and the driver of a lorry or a truck can do for safety reasons. So we've got to look at protecting general practice and when I say that, I mean not just the GPs but all our staff.

GPs to work longer hours to deal with surge in inf...
Read More

"I totally understand how difficult and frustrating it is if you're trying to see a GP or trying to get a GP, but you can't blame the GPs for this – you must blame those who are making the healthcare decisions."

Ahead of the Christmas holidays, the chief medical officer, Prof Breda Smyth, urged people to stay at home if they have any flu-like symptoms to prevent the onward spread of winter viruses.

"This year's flu season seems to be having a severe impact on children in particular. In Australia 60 per cent of hospitalisations were among children. Flu is also causing a huge spike in child hospitalisations in Canada."

She added: "We all know that vaccination saves lives. It decreases the chances of being infected and reduces the risk of severe illness from Covid-19 and flu. So please come forward and get yours."

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2023, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com