SWAH struggling to cope as Covid surges again

WITH OVER 130 staff currently off work and a jump the number of local Covid patients, combined with the usual winter pressures that plague the health service, SWAH is currently operating beyond its capacity.
At the time of writing there were currently 23 Covid patients at the hospital, and two in intensive care, with the Western Trust stating it was now preparing for the third surge of the virus. At the same time, there were 136 staff unavailable to work at the hospital, including on sick leave unrelated to Covid.
All this at a time of year that when, even at the best of times, the hospital historically struggled to meet demand. Director of acute services Geraldine McKay said this meant both SWAH and Altnagelvin were currently operating beyond their funded capacity.
“Over the past number of years, the level of complex and serious conditions, particularly amongst those who are vulnerable due to frailty and other conditions of ageing, the prevalence of flu and other respiratory conditions at this time of year, and the challenges of helping patients to return home after a hospital stay does mean that our hospitals can run at a higher level of occupancy,” she said.
“This, coupled with managing a high number of Covid-19 cases, does mean that our hospitals are currently running beyond funded bed capacity.”

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