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medical alert Top Irish doctor describes waiting list situation in hospitals as 'frightening'

'There are not enough resources in terms of hospital beds and additional facilities to get through the waiting lists'

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Medics care for a patient in an intensive care unit. (FILE PHOTO)

Medics care for a patient in an intensive care unit. (FILE PHOTO)

Medics care for a patient in an intensive care unit. (FILE PHOTO)

One of Ireland's top docs has said that while the waiting list situation in hospitals was always serious, "it's probably frightening now". 

Dr Rónán Collins, a specialist in geriatric and stroke medicine at Tallaght Hospital branded Irish hospitals as “just not fit for purpose anymore" as he highlighted the increased demand on the health service.

According to Dr Collins, the pandemic, along with an ageing population, has put extra pressure on “old” hospitals which are struggling to cope.

"We do not have enough hospital beds in our system," said Dr Collins, who added that while the pandemic has exacerbated things the situation with waiting lists had been known about for some time.

"There are not enough resources in terms of hospital beds to get through and additional facilities to get through the waiting lists."

Dr Collins also said that the health service also does not have enough healthcare manpower in place.

"We still have staff shortages at times with regard to nursing even for example on our wards, but particularly with regard to your consultant level. There's a shortage of staff.

"And I think that problem is not easily solved, because even if you hire loads of people they can't do their job is to don't have the resource.”

Speaking to Katie Hannon on RTÉ radio, Dr Collins said most of our hospitals don't have facilities where people can shower and change and go onto the ward areas.

"And I think that whole notion of infection control within hospitals needs to change,” he said.

Dr Collins said Irish hospitals are "old" and "not built with infection control nor indeed necessarily with the needs of older people who were a major user of our hospitals in mind".

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On the decision of Nphet to remove mask-wearing from almost all environments, the medic said the risk of wearing one should be balanced by the public.

He added that masks had some implications in his practice for some older people with communication becoming problematic.

"Because for many of us as our hearing deteriorates as we start to get older, we kind of subconsciously have learned to lip read."

Dr Collins said that Nphet seems to be reflecting WHO advice, adding people are going to exercise their judgement and that was "entirely appropriate".

The majority of the opinion in the medical community would be supportive of the Nphet discussion, he added.

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