Wednesday, December 1

‘Worried’ Intensive Care Physicians Warn Australia Will Face Increased Demand Over The Next Months | Health


Intensive care physicians have warned that Australia’s healthcare system could face months of increased demand that will put pressure on the workforce as a result of the Delta outbreak, as they emphasize the need for increased Covid vaccination rates. to ease the burden on hospitals.

Federal Health Secretary Brendan Murphy will update Friday’s national cabinet meeting on the hospital system’s ability to cope, reported by a survey by the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (Anzics), after the Australian Medical Association warned that the system was already struggling.

Anzics President Dr Anthony Holley told Guardian Australia that he believed the ICU system could cope with the impending surge in demand, but that its members, who manage the 2,300 intensive care beds in Australia, were concerned about the pressure on the workforce.

He said that the situation for the UCI sector had improved since March last year when the last survey of the system’s capacity was carried out, when specialists expected a “sudden and massive” influx.

“Now the intensive care community is concerned that there will be an increased demand for intensive care services for an extended period after the opening of the [international] borders.

“Intensive care workers are concerned that a significant number of the population will remain unvaccinated, and potentially many of them would require critical care, and we are concerned that this will continue for a long time.

“You know you can increase your workload for two to three weeks, but if you talk for months, that becomes quite a challenge for those of us who are working in that space.”

He said the industry was discussing the possibility of “reusing” nurses from other disciplines due to concerns about a shortage of critical care nurses.

“Our expectation is that we will get very demanding and challenging numbers that require intense care and therefore the important thing for us is to find out if we are able to cope,” said Holley.

“We have the feeling that at the national level we will be able to cope. I think we will work incredibly hard, I think we will be undercover in some institutions and we might even have to consider relocating staff, and we might even have to consider transferring patients.

“But I think if you look at the net figures, Australia has, for reference, about 2,300 intensive care beds and at the moment we have about 170 Covid patients in intensive care.”

Holley would not rely on whether vaccination thresholds to ease the restrictions currently outlined in the national plan they were appropriate, saying this was a question for public health officials and epidemiologists. But he said it seemed a “viable proposition” to consider opening the borders once a double-dose vaccination rate of 80% was reached.

“But again, on the condition that public health physicians and epidemiologists have looked at the model and can give us some indication, and I’m sure the government is using these as general ideas and will ultimately make a decision. based on where the numbers are.

“I don’t think the government will open the borders and the doors and end the restrictions if the hospital system is already in trouble.”

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He also said Australia was better placed than many other overseas jurisdictions to handle the Delta wave, with slow exposure to the virus, a higher vaccination rate early in the outbreak, and Australia with 9.1 ICU beds per 100,000 people, in compared to 3.4 in the UK.

Saying that the industry had been preparing for 18 months, Holley also emphasized that people should heed health tips.

“While the intensive care community is bracing and bracing for an increased workload, at the same time, the onus is on the population … to seriously consider getting vaccinated.”

On Thursday, Australian Medical Association President Omar Khorshid sent an open letter to the prime minister and state and territorial leaders, warning that the nation’s hospitals were “ill-prepared for the opening plans.”

Calls for a new model based on the capacity of the hospital and staff to guide opening plans, and warned that public hospitals run the risk of collapse if this happens prematurely.

In Parliament Thursday, Labor asked Scott Morrison what additional resources the federal government would “give to the nation’s health care system to cope.”

The prime minister said the government had been preparing for the increased demand for “many months” and the ICU’s capacity had increased from 2,000 to 7,500 ventilated beds across the country.

“In fact, since the beginning of the pandemic, it has been the most common issue that we have continued to investigate and review to ensure the capacity of the system,” Morrison said.

New South Wales Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said she expected the state’s hospital network to expand as cases continued to rise, with a peak in demand expected in October.

Of the 1,047 people in the hospital with Covid-19 on Thursday 184 were in ICU.

“Will it stretch, yes? But it will manage. Every day for healthcare workers is a challenge and an exaggeration, ”said Berejiklian.

Friday’s national cabinet meeting will consider an epidemiological update, along with discussion of the transition plan and scenarios prepared by the Doherty Institute.

Murphy will lead a discussion on health system optimization, which will consider testing, tracking, isolation and quarantine and other public health measures.


www.theguardian.com

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