Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Photo of Alan FarrellAlan Farrell (Dublin Fingal, Fine Gael)
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87. To ask the Minister for Health if an update will be provided on the ability of the HSE to handle a second wave of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16100/22]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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Working with the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, and the National Virus Reference Laboratory, the Office of the Chief Medical Officer continues to monitor the latest epidemiological situation and the ongoing international disease trajectory, including as relates to existing and emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2, drawing advice from international experts and agencies, such as the World Health Organization and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The Chief Medical Officer continues to advise the Minister for Health on the pandemic response as appropriate.

The HSE is actively working with hospitals and hospital groups to mitigate the impact of the current COVID situation. The HSE is continuing to utilise capacity in private hospitals and taking other measures, such as prioritising critical and time sensitive care, to reduce pressure on bed capacity. Patients are being requested to use alternatives such as their local pharmacist, GP or minor injury units as appropriate.

The substantial funding provided in the recent budgets has supported an increase in bed capacity, including ICU beds, additional staff, and expanded community services, which combined enable the HSE to mitigate the impact of high levels of attendances and COVID cases.

In addition, the HSE is delivering on plans to double our overall public health workforce including public health doctors, public health nurses, scientists and support staff. This is the single biggest investment in our public health workforce in decades.

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy with additional detail.


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