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Covid crisis Health expert warns of 'national emergency' in acute hospital system

Prof Irvine warned that if the admissions continue to double in a week and double again the week after that, "the system really will not be able to cope, so it's truly an emergency in the acute health system."

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Professor Alan Irvine

Professor Alan Irvine

Professor Alan Irvine

The situation in Ireland's acute hospitals "is truly a national emergency",  the President of the Irish Hospital Consultants' Association has said. 

According to Professor Alan Irvine, 1,000 people have been admitted with Covid-related illnesses to acute hospitals since January 2.

However, these admissions are doubling, in both in intensive care and general acute beds, every week, the professor pointed out.

Prof Irvine warned that if the admissions continue to double in a week and double again the week after that, "the system really will not be able to cope, so it's truly an emergency in the acute health system."

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IHCA's Alan Irvine. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

IHCA's Alan Irvine. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

IHCA's Alan Irvine. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, he said that "the acute hospital system is under the greatest pressure that it's ever been in living memory".

Prof Irvine said if this trajectory continues, "there's no doubt that all of the surge capacity that's been identified, the 350 ICU beds for example, all of that will be used and even that will not be enough".

He added: “People should be under no illusions, we're having a very difficult, challenging, sad and stressful time over these next two to three weeks."

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland earlier today, a consultant in intensive care medicine at Dublin's Beaumont Hospital described the pressure on critical care as "grim and worrying".

Dr Michael Power said some hospitals have contacted other facilities and activated the mobile intensive care ambulance service transport to transfer patients from one hospital to another to alleviate pressure.

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