'Staff are exhausted' – HSE chief sends warning ahead of winter months
"It is going to be a difficult winter."
Almost 70% of intensive care patients being treated for the Covid-19 virus have not been vaccinated, according to the Director-General of the Health Service Executive of Ireland.
Though the country was recently hailed worldwide for its Covid resilience and is currently on track for the wholesale lifting of restrictions on Friday, 22, October, HSE chief Paul Reid sounded a note of caution on Newstalk Breakfast on Monday.
Elaborating on the "very significant" pressure facing the Irish healthcare system in the coming months, Reid noted that staff are feeling the strain.
"It is going to be a difficult winter," Reid said.
"You can see some of the pressures on our staff – many of them are exhausted [after] four waves of Covid and a cyber attack.
"Having said that, we are putting in a number of initiatives throughout winter, funded by the Government again this year to support the hospital system. Sometimes, a lot of the supports we need to put in for the hospital system are outside in our community.
"We have a lot more initiatives about keeping people safer at home, putting some clinics outside of the hospitals, even out-patients lists not being done in the hospital but in the community, community intervention teams that we will have in place throughout winter; multi-disciplinary teams working to give people care at home."
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Reid also highlighted plans to try and increase capacity at hospital level for the winter months.
"It's going to be very challenging," he said.
"What we want to do is stop the growth on the waiting lists and to start making some initial impact on the short-term plan we have."
Reid is co-chairing the much-mooted Sláintecare plan alongside Robert Watt. Asked if he is "hopeful" about the plan being implemented following a number of high-profile setbacks in recent weeks, Reid commented:
"Yes. The reason I took up this job two years ago was to implement all aspects of Sláintecare.
"We're not waiting to start. Right now, today, we're implementing many initiatives that are a part of Sláintecare; some of which I just listed there as part of the winter plan. The other big aspects relate to looking at regionalisation and also putting in a multi-annual, long-term plan to address waiting lists.
"We will be working on those and are relentlessly working on those and we want to see more aspects being implemented throughout 2022 and into the following year."
Featured Image via Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie