Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.57 24 Sep 2020


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Almost 900 acute hospital beds are to be made available as part of the the HSE's Winter Plan.

This will be a jump from the 409 currently in place.

The health service has also committed to a capacity of 500 self-isolation beds each day.

While 100,000 COVID-19 tests per week have also been outlined in the plan for the winter months.

It says there will be a "coordinated approach" for implementing a national supply chain strategy for PPE.

There will also be over 44,000 additional appointments for cancer services.

As part of the plan, the HSE has also set a 60% target for children - aged two to 12 - to take up the flu vaccine.

HSE Winer Plan Source: HSE

This target increases to 75% for at-risk groups and healthcare workers.

The plan has been costed at some €600m, running into the 2021 season.

Professor John Crown is consultant medical oncologist from St Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin.

He told Pat Kenny that he is hopeful - and keeping his fingers crossed - with this plan.

"I for one really am hopeful that things will not be as bad with the pandemic now as they were in April.

"I maybe wrong - I'm hopeful that things like not getting it wrong with the nursing homes, which we badly, badly did in March and April.

"Things like everybody wearing masks which, as you will recall Pat, I was advocating on your show very early in the pandemic - people having a heightened understanding for the need of social distancing.

"All of these things hopefully will curtail the worst excesses of the pandemic this winter.

"But even with a moderate pandemic on top of the normal seasonal challenges, on top of a system which is not fit for purposes, we are likely going to face major curtailment of all kinds of routine services - even if, and hopefully fingers crossed, we do not have the acute services or the intensive care services critically overrun".

"There was, I believe, a wealth of emerging evidence throughout the early months of the pandemic that even though masks - and we must admit this - provide very, very poor and imperfect protection for one individual wearing them, if everyone wears them they do break many of the chains of transmission.

"It's great to be wise with the benefit of retrospection, and all of our learning curves were steep with this - and a lot of the things which were said canonically and matergically in the early months of the pandemic were wrong.

"And people need to just shrug their shoulders and say 'look, we were wrong' - we were wrong for a good reason: nobody had heard of this virus before December of 2019 and suddenly we were [having] a major public health reaction to it.

"So it's simple: if everybody wears a mask, we will decrease transmission.

"Everybody who walks into a hospital should wear a mask the entire time they're in the hospital except if they're eating."

Main image: A patient is treated by staff nurse in an emergency department at Wexham Park Hospital in the UK. Picture by: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/PA Images

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Acute Hospital Beds Cancer Services Flu Vaccine Healthcare Workers Hse Hse Winter Plan PPE Self-isolation Beds Winter Plan

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