Hospital consultants are being dispatched to work in Cavan General after a number of staff were struck by an outbreak of Covid-19.
In a statement, the RCSI Hospitals group refused to confirm the number of doctors and nurses who have become infected, but said its staff absenteeism rate has increased by almost 7% since January.
The statement read: “Cavan General Hospital has plans in place to manage additional demands due to Covid-19. The Hospital has areas designated for care of patients with Covid-19, patients who are awaiting diagnosis and patients who are not. There is capacity available for all of these patients.”
“In January 2020, prior to Covid-19, the absenteeism rate was 5.6%, presently it is 12.2%. The Hospital continues to have a number of staff off at present.”
The latest figures show Cavan General is the hospital outside Dublin with the most Covid-19 cases with 33.
The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (ICHA) said some of its members have been dispatched to work at Cavan General Hospital to help them to cope with the outbreak.
If the issue of PPE (personal protective equipment) is not addressed, this situation could be replicated across the statePauline Tully, Cavan-Monaghan TD
Vice president of the IHCA Laura Durcan told RTE radio: “What we have been doing from our group is sending staff to Cavan to make sure they can be safely staffed over the upcoming number of days.
“Some of our SHOs and registrars have very heroically stepped up and will be heading up to Cavan I believe today.”
Sinn Fein TD for Cavan-Monaghan Pauline Tully said: “Our healthcare workers now account for 27% of all those infected by the virus. This brings home the fears faced by those on the front line fighting this virus.
“Priority must be given to front-line staff who are placing their own health at risk in order to keep us safe and to treat our loved ones who have contracted the virus.
“We will be asking that the (health) department address the very serious and escalating situation that is impacting on staff and patients in Cavan General Hospital.
“This situation will have ramifications for those in need of hospital care in the coming weeks. They will fear going to the hospital for risk of infection.
“These closures must act as a wake-up call, otherwise the exceptionally difficult circumstances within the hospital will greatly worsen.
“There are lessons to be learned from this. If the issue of PPE (personal protective equipment) is not addressed, this situation could be replicated across the state.”