As many as 26 children were recently hospitalized with Covid-19 and a number of them were admitted to intensive care, yesterday noon.
New numbers show that young patients under the age of 18, including nine under the age of four, were hospitalized with the virus in the two weeks from October 1 to October 14.
The Health Protection Surveillance Center (HPSC) report revealed that at least three of these children should be placed in intensive care after they became seriously ill with the virus.
5,258 people under 18 have tested positive during that time, which is 25.5% of all cases.
HSE is under fire for ending, as of September 27, testing and tracing of children in elementary school who have been in close contact with a confirmed case.
There are concerns that primary school children who are infected with the virus and who are not showing symptoms may pass the virus on to older adults.
And there were 458 virus patients in hospital yesterday, up 25 on the day.
Of those, 73 were in a critical condition in intensive care, down one in the past 24 hours.
But only 12 beds were made available for intensive care yesterday afternoon.
There is growing concern about hospitals’ ability to provide non-Covid services amid reports that more patients on the waiting list are having their procedures canceled due to space pressure.
The shortage of intensive care nurses is emerging as an issue, and if hospitals need to increase capacity, staff will have to be redeployed again from other parts of the hospital.
Hospitals are heading into winter with a shortage of beds with 910,000 patients on some form of public hospital waiting list.
More than one million people are expected to be waiting for treatment by the end of the year.
There are 98,190 children on waiting lists with four in 10 facing delays of at least a year to be evaluated by a consultant.
The number of patients waiting for an outpatient appointment with a consultant has increased by more than 41,000 in the past year alone and nearly 175,000, or 37 percent, since May 2017, when the Sláintecare reforms were launched.
Professor Alan Irvine, Chair of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA), said that “ongoing conversations between the Department of Health and HSE representatives and hospital consultants on employment contracts must fulfill the clear commitment” made by the Minister of Health to resolve the issue of wage inequality for all contracted consultants Since 2012″.
He added: “This issue is critical to filling one of five permanent advisory positions that are currently vacant or filled on a temporary basis and to reduce unacceptable patient waiting times. If the government fails to put in place a meaningful plan to fill the more than 720 permanent consultant positions that remain vacant, its plan to reduce waiting lists will fail.”
He said the latest waiting numbers show that there are 909,915 people on a waiting list for treatment or evaluation. This is an increase of 71,240 people since the beginning of the year.
Based on the Ministry of Health’s forecast of an additional 111,000 people due to be added to the outpatient, inpatient and gastrointestinal endoscopy roster alone by the end of the year, there will be more than a million people waiting by the end of 2021.
He said consultants welcomed the additional €250 million saved in the 2022 budget to try to reduce waiting lists, but that was not close enough to the huge task of ending the ongoing backlog of deferred care in hospitals due to the pandemic and getting waiting lists under control.
“The ability of this investment to make a meaningful impact will also be reduced if the crisis of hiring and retaining consultants in contract negotiations is not addressed, as more than one in five approved advisory positions are not currently filled as needed,” Professor Irvin said.
“The number of patients waiting more than a year for inpatient and day hospital treatment has grown exponentially since October 2012 when remuneration inequality was imposed on consultants. It increased from just 131 at the end of September 2012 to 19,431 in September 2021 – a 148-fold increase In «The Long Waiters» for the past nine years.
The numbers show 86,131 children on hospital outpatient waiting lists, with nearly half of them waiting for more than a year.
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