Bon Secours Hospital Cork bosses have written to Cork University Hospital management calling for a pan-hospital approach to fighting Covid-19.
While they admit they have “little critical care capacity”, they are offering to provide whatever services they can.
They are offering, for example, to take on cancer and pregnancy cases as a way of easing the pressure on both CUH and the Cork University Maternity Hospital.
In a letter to CUH management, they say they want to “prepare the (their) hospital to work in a coordinated manner as part of a cohesive local strategy between Cork hospitals”.
To this end, the letter — which has been seen by the— states BSHC is proposing to “contribute to the national effort by maximising utilisation of our facilities and healthcare personnel”.
And they state: “The close professional ties that already exist would underpin the delivery of patient care within a local plan that will feed into action plans for management of Covid-19 at a national level which recognises the requirement to maintain urgent and time-critical services throughout the crisis.”
They are offering diagnostic services, cancer surgery and other oncology services as well as cardiac procedures. They are also offering acute care services, that include gynaecological, paediatric and cardiology services.
However, it states that as far as Covid-19 is concerned, “BSHC has little critical care capacity in terms of ventilators and has no capability to provide dialysis”.
Despite this, they say: “We are committed to caring for Covid-19 patients to the maximum of our capabilities. To that end, we commit to maximising our Critical Care capability and to providing a ring-fenced bed base for ‘step down’ Covid-19 patients and those who are unlikely to need ventilatory/critical care support.”
They added: “Consultant anaesthetists working in Bon Secours have already indicated their willingness to participate in a citywide rota to ensure patient care. All departments at all levels are prepared to work closely with colleagues in a pan Hospital approach.
We appreciate that the success of such a plan will be dependent on details agreed in advance of further pressures being exerted on hospital resources.
Meanwhile, marquees have been erected at either side of the entrance to the Cork University Maternity Hospital.
They are believed to have been erected so an estimated 3,000 staff will be screened when they report for duty as Covid-19 infection control measures are ramped up.
It is understood that all medical, healthcare and non-medical staff will have to pass through the screening facilities before being cleared to enter the buildings.
Access to the buildings will only be allowed if a staff member passes the checks, including a temperature check, designed to identify a fever - one of the main symptoms of Covid-19.
When asked about the new arrangements, a HSE spokesperson said: "The HSE and the Department of Health are not providing information about individual activations of preparedness plans."