The HSE’s chief operations officer, Anne O’Connor has warned that cancelled procedures and a policy of not scheduling appointments because of Covid-19 will mean that waiting lists will get longer.
Speaking on RTE radio’s News at One, Ms O’Connor explained that it was not just a case of cancelling appointments, procedures were not being scheduled, but the situation had not yet reached the point where all non Covid procedures were being cancelled as has had happened during the worst phase of the pandemic.
There are currently 638 people being treated in hospital with Covid-19, 130 in ICU, of whom 78 are invasively ventilated, said Ms O’Connor.
Although there appeared to be a drop in attendance at emergency departments, hospitals were still “flat out” she said, adding that the numbers were going in the wrong direction.
The Covid figures were putting significant pressure on the system, added Ms O’Connor.
She explained that this would mean that scheduled procedures would have to be deferred as the health service had to be able to respond to the level of demand from Covid.
The situation would be reviewed on a weekly basis, she said, depending on how Covid figures go.
Hospital directors did not wait for national directives, site by site their situations were being reviewed day by day, she explained.
They will continue to do that and make decisions based on what their individual hospital could manage and if necessary to moderate their activity.