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ICU beds were ‘found for those who needed them’ during pandemic- NOCA report

By David Lynch - 04th Nov 2021

The “key findings” of a new National Office of Clinical Audit (NOCA) report indicate “that the national network of ICUs was able to meet the clinical needs of patients” during the pandemic so far.  

The NOCA Report on Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Activity during the Covid-19 pandemic finds that the highest peak in numbers of Covid-19 patients in ICU in adult public hospitals was 215 patients in January 2021. The largest total number of patients in ICU at any one time was 330 on 26 January 2021. Surges in numbers of Covid-19 patients in ICU were accommodated by expansion in the numbers of ICU beds open, from a baseline of 256 beds in March 2020 to a peak of 348 ICU beds open.

Covid-19 patients occupied 22 per cent of all patient days in ICU over the period March 2020 to October 2021. This increased to 55 per cent of all patient days in ICU for the peak surge period in January-February 2021.

The report summarises data which has been collected on a daily basis on activity in ICUs in Ireland since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

“This report documents how dedicated and professional staff in the Irish healthcare system adapted to the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic to save as many lives as possible,” said Professor Rory Dwyer, Clinical Lead for the Irish National ICU Audit (INICUA) and ICU-Bed Information System (ICU-BIS).

“ICU beds were found for those who needed them, despite unprecedented levels of demand. Outcomes compared well with international comparators. At-risk groups were identified leading to initiatives to protect these cohorts. Lessons from the report will guide responses to pandemics or major incidents in the future.”

Copies of the report are available to download from the NOCA website

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