Continuing Covid pressure on health system

THE South West Acute Hospital has been under “intense pressure” amid a Covid backlog and a continuing strain on staffing level, the Western Trust chief executive has said.
Addressing a meeting of the Western Trust’s Board on Thursday, Neil Guckian said there were five people waiting on a bed at the SWAH emergency the evening before, but that the figures had “fluctuated significantly”.
He said, “The South West Acute has been under intense pressure right up until the last couple of days and we’re doing all we can. It is a tribute to the staff at the South West Acute Hospital and indeed the link staff in the community that we have been able to get it down to that lower number.”
Mr Guckian told board members that staffing continues to remain a challenge across all services in the trust.
On the current Covid situation, the chief executive said, “We’re still in that environment. The number of Covid-19 positive in-patients at our hospitals is still 65- 25 at the SWAH and 39 at Altnegevin as of March 2.”
Board members were told there are reduced numbers in the Trust’s intensive care units and he hopes infection trends will continue and allow “increased capacity for patient flow”.
Outbreaks at nursing homes within the Western Trust have fallen to 15. Mr Guckian said, “This was much higher in previous months.”
“Despite the easing of restrictions, Covid-19 continues to present huge challenges to the healthcare system, both in terms of the volume of patients requiring care and the additional demands brought by staff absence,” Mr Guckian added.
He called for Trust staff to act with “diligence” to help prevent outbreaks and called on the public to “remain vigilant” and follow the guidance.

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