Varadkar and Donnelly to discuss surge in winter virus infections

Varadkar And Donnelly To Discuss Surge In Winter Virus Infections
A National Crisis Management Team has been established amid predictions the health service will come under the 'highest pressure' ever in the coming weeks. Photo: PA Images
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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is due to meet with Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly on Friday to discuss the surge in winter virus infections.

On Thursday, the HSE warned a spike in infections is expected to bring the "highest pressure" on the health system ever seen.


A National Crisis Management Team has been established as both flu and Covid infections have led to a rapid increase in hospitalisations, the HSE said.

Officials anticipate over 900 people may require hospitalisation for flu in the first week of January, while Covid hospitalisations have already surpassed pessimistic projections.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said they are "disappointed that the HSE has once again waited until the crisis, which was predicted in July, was in full flow to establish a crisis management team".

"The INMO has sought confirmation that managers will be available to frontline staff at all times over the Christmas and New Year period to deal with the non-clinical issues that are associated with a crisis of this nature.


"Nurses, midwives and other essential healthcare workers should be supported in every possible way over what is going to be an incredibly difficult few weeks," the group said.

The union also called for the HSE to provide healthcare staff with "whatever essential resources they need, including additional staff until the end of February at the very least".

The warning from the HSE came as 524 patients were waiting for hospital beds on Thursday morning.

Trolley count figures from the INMO showed 429 people were waiting in Emergency Departments (EDs) around the country on Thursday morning, while 95 were waiting elsewhere in the hospital.

University Hospital Limerick had the highest number of people waiting for a bed (75), followed by Cork University Hospital (67) and Sligo University Hospital (46).

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