21 Jan 2021, 17.58

The Joint Committee on Health will hear from representatives of NPHET and the HSE on the impact of the current high levels of Covid-19 on the health system at a meeting in Leinster House tomorrow, Friday 22 January.

NPHET’s Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer; Celeste O’Callaghan, Director, Acute Hospital Policy Division, Department of Health; David Smith, Director, Governance and Performance Division, Department of Health and  Gerry O’Brien, Director, Health Protection Division at the Department of Health will appear before the Committee.

The HSE witnesses before the committee are Liam Woods, National Director, Acute Operations; Angela Fitzgerald, Deputy National Director, Acute Operations; Dr Vida Hamilton, National Clinical Advisor and Group Lead, Acute Operations.

Witnesses will be appearing before the meeting remotely in Committee Room 2 by video link starting a 10 am.

Chairman of the Committee Seán Crowe TD said: “Unfortunately, Covid-19 is continuing to claim lives and force people to seek hospital care in increasing numbers. The number of patients admitted to our hospitals with Covid-19 topped 2,000 for the first time this week. The impact and pressure this surge in Covid-19 prevalence is having on the health system including, staffing levels,  ICU bed availability, surgery, cancer care and other non-Covid patient care in our acute hospitals are among the issues we want to discuss at our meeting tomorrow.”

Deputy Crowe added: “We will also examine the latest projections on the spread of Covid in the community and the need to get control of the virus. It is important that we get an understanding of the forecasts which indicate that the spread of infection is falling, albeit from a very high level. The Committee will also assess the capacity of the health services to resume contact tracing of close contacts of those who have a received a positive result so that we can again get ahead of the virus and also avoid a repeat of the previous breakdown in the contact tracing system.”

Watch the meeting live.

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