Staff at Portlaoise hospital have reverted to a 'surge' system in the face of the Covid-19 third wave which has driven up admissions to the hospital and its intensive care unit.
As the hospital faces unprecedented pressure due to the Christmas New Year spread, it has had to reconfigure to ensure it can provide potentially life-saving care. Part of this has this has seen the hospital expand its critical care capacity.
Management has confirmed that this means reverting to a system set up in 2020 when the pandemic first hit.
"Like all Hospitals, the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise has a surge plan in place to respond to increased Covid-19 patients. In the earlier part of the pandemic, the hospital relocated the intensive care and coronary care to enable additional space to accommodate an increased number of patients requiring intensive care support.
"The hospital management also undertook contingency planning as to how this can be supported from a staff perspective. This plan has been implemented in recent days," said a statement from the Dublin Midland Hospital Group.
Portlaoise has sister hospitals in Naas, Tullamore and Dublin as part of the HSE Dublin Midland Group. There was just one ICU bed between the hospitals by 8pm on Wednesday, January 12.
A spokesperson for the group appealed to the public to play their part in reducing pressure on Portlaoise and other hospitals.
"Hospitals across the Group are under significant pressure. We would appeal to the public to stay home and stay safe. Our Emergency Services are available if you are in an emergency situation. Please call 999 or 112 otherwise contact your GP by phone for routine matters," said the statement.
Hospitals reconfigured across Ireland last week suspending non-essential services to cope with the expected surge in cases which has materialised.