NO HEALTH condition is being “prioritised” over another at the moment, with patients being treated according to clinical need as far as capacity will allow, according the Health Minister.
Since the outbreak of the Covid crisis the health service has
reconfigured itself to deal with the recurring surges of the virus.
This has resulted in treatment for other conditions being delayed or cancelled. In recent weeks it emerged a number of cancer procedures were among those postponed.
However, Health Minister Robin Swann has stressed Covid-19 patients are not being given ‘priority’ over others.
“Patients are treated according to clinical priority, as determined by specialist clinicians,” said Minister Swann. “Our hospitals are doing their absolute best to care for everyone, and that includes treating the sickest quickest. It is untrue and offensive for anyone to accuse frontline staff of prioritising one condition over another.”
He added: “It is certainly the case that the current surge in Covid-19 cases has placed serious pressures on the health service, and this is affecting treatments for other conditions. That’s down to capacity, not because some conditions have higher status than others.”
Minister Swann said a proportion of those with Covid will need life-saving treatment in intensive care units (ICUs) and specialist staff have had to be redeployed from other parts of the hospital, resulting in elective treatments being rescheduled.
“Sadly, some red flag cancer procedures are among those to have been postponed,” said Minister Swann.
“That is matter of greater regret and distress to everyone in the
health service. These cases will be prioritised for re-scheduling.”
The Minister noted that even before the pandemic the health service was already short staffed, and while measure had been started to fix this problem, it was a long-term process with “no quick fixes.”
“The health service only has one workforce and it can only be
stretched so far. Staff are under incredible pressure and are
exhausted,” he said, adding we can all help ease the burden on the
service by doing all we can to help reduce the spread of Covid,
including washing our hands, reducing our contacts and wearing a mask.
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