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ICU expansion - what is the story here?

  • 08-12-2021 2:24pm
    Registered Users Posts: 6,220 ✭✭✭ growleaves

    I remember over a year and a half ago hearing vague statements that "ICU can't be expanded in the short term".

    Okay. But does anyone know what constitutes the short term, what constitutes the medium term and the long term?

    Are there plans to expand ICU by mid-decade? End of decade? If so, has this begun? Is it scheduled to begin? I know there has been an expansion of ICU that tok place quickly last year but obviously not to the extent that would allow restrictions to melt away and the country to step away from the precipice of hosptial system collapse. So I am speaking of a meaningful expansion that would alleviate our present troubles.

    Do you think this affects you and would you like to know the answer to these questions? I don't see much dicussion either in the papers or on social media. We have the rest of our lives to think about it, and its reputedly our greatest priority bar nothing. Thoughts?

    "We have years of struggle ahead, mostly within ourselves" - Jean-Luc Godard


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,220 ✭✭✭ growleaves

    New Zealand are funding an expansion of ICU. Interesting approach.

    "We have years of struggle ahead, mostly within ourselves" - Jean-Luc Godard

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,220 ✭✭✭ growleaves

    Here are details of our multi-year plan, published one year and ten days ago. I can't find any updates about whether we are on track to meet these targets.

    'Published on 18 December 2020. The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, has today announced a strategic multi-year plan to expand adult critical care capacity from 255 beds to 446 beds.

    Work on Phase One of the plan has already begun and will see 321 adult critical care beds in place by the end of 2021, compared to 255 at the start of this year. This will be funded by €52 million allocated in Budget 2021. This funding will also allow for education and training initiatives to increase the critical care workforce and for investment in critical care retrieval services. Under Phase One, an additional 8 beds will be created in St. Vincent’s University Hospital in 2022, subject to completion of the necessary infrastructural development and planning processes, and with funding to be sought within the 2022 estimates process.

    Completion of Phase Two will see a further 117 beds added through the development of new build capacity at five prioritised sites, subject to necessary approval processes. These sites include Beaumont Hospital, St James’s Hospital, the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, St Vincent’s University Hospital and Cork University Hospital.'

    "We have years of struggle ahead, mostly within ourselves" - Jean-Luc Godard

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,220 ✭✭✭ growleaves

    Update: Two and a half weeks ago we were at 300 ICU beds according to the below article. Our target for the end of the year is 321. (That's not counting surge capacity which can be stretched to 350, and we had 330 in ICU in January 2021.)

    So the Department of Health reached about 68% or roughly two-thirds of its target. Considering that ICU capacity is not merely the most important issue facing us but in fact the ruling principle of our society and all our lives I'd call that a disappointment.

    "We have years of struggle ahead, mostly within ourselves" - Jean-Luc Godard

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,101 ✭✭✭✭ astrofool

    It's completely unsurprising that it's hard to add ICU capacity when demand for doctors and nurses and medical equipment will be at its highest during a pandemic. Ireland does have private and surge capacity if it goes that far but lockdowns or heavy restrictions would be in place were that to be needed.

    Ireland needs more capacity, however we probably dont need as much as a pandemic requires (it would be wasteful during normal times) which will mean that pandemics will always cause some level of restrictions (or we have some way to add capacity quickly if needed).

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,220 ✭✭✭ growleaves

    'it would be wasteful during normal times'

    I hadn't considered that. I read some senior NHS person saying they wanted permanetly expanded capacity as a legacy of covid.

    We have an inverted demographic pyramid, and it is the same all over the developed world, so we will have a lot of elderly deaths in the years ahead.

    The huge expansion of life-extension treatments and therapies only really began in the 1980s AFAIK.

    "We have years of struggle ahead, mostly within ourselves" - Jean-Luc Godard

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