Covid-19 assessment hubs aim to stop 'overburdening' hospitals

Covid-19 assessment hubs aim to stop 'overburdening' hospitals

Covid-19 community assessment hubs will keep patients from overburdening the hospital system while being treated by healthcare staff, the head of the GP association has said.

Community assessment hubs for Covid-19 will begin accepting their first patients this week.

The HSE said 12 to 15 of the assessment hubs will be in place by the end of the week.

The hubs provide facilities for people who need to self-isolate, those who are sick and people who are awaiting a test result.

The Vice-President of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) Dr Nuala O’Connor said the hubs will keep patients from “overburdening the hospital system”.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

“They are another layer of triage in the community.

“Somebody like myself who is a GP, I’m going to have a number of patients who have Covid-19 and are recuperating at home.

“If I feel they are becoming unwell, not so unwell that they need to go to hospital but if they are experiencing shortness of breath, then the community hub is another place where I can organise for a patient to be seen by health care professionals.”

Dr O’Connor said in cases where a person can not self isolate at home, they will be sent to one of the hubs instead of hospital.

“We are trying to make sure that as the figures increase that we can make sure not to overburden the emergency rooms and healthcare systems if at all possible.”

Dr O’Connor urged people who have non Covid-19 illnesses to attend their GP.

She said: “We need the public to understand that we can see other patients with health problems, other than Covid-19, safely in our surgeries.”

They will be assessed by nurses and GPs at the community hub and a decision can then be made as to whether they need to go to hospital for oxygen and other supports or can continue to recover at home.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has offered his services by returning to the Medical Register (leon farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has offered his services by returning to the Medical Register (leon farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

In some cases, recovery in a community isolation unit may be suitable for them, Dr O’Connor said.

Thirty-eight Covid-19 related deaths were confirmed over the weekend, bringing the total in the Republic to 158.

Some 691 new cases were confirmed on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the total number of cases to 4,994.

On Sunday night, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed he rejoined the Medical Register last month.

He has offered his services to the HSE for one session a week in areas that are within his scope of practice and will be carrying out phone assessments.

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024

More on this topic

Letter to the Editor: Open pubs but make sure you wear a maskLetter to the Editor: Open pubs but make sure you wear a mask

Troy Deeney receives abuse after expressing his concerns over football’s returnTroy Deeney receives abuse after expressing his concerns over football’s return

Emily Maitlis to miss Newsnight after BBC criticises Cummings row coverageEmily Maitlis to miss Newsnight after BBC criticises Cummings row coverage

World Rugby rejects invitational tournament proposal to help struggling unionsWorld Rugby rejects invitational tournament proposal to help struggling unions