Hospitals in Belfast have called in extra nurses to deal with the “extreme pressure” from increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients as Northern Ireland runs out of hospital beds.
The Belfast Trust, which runs the Northern Irish capital’s hospitals, said the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Mater Hospital were both struggling to cope.
In a tweet appeal, it said: “We are under extreme pressure in the RVH & Mater as we care for an increasing number of Covid19+ patients, alongside emergency admissions.
“We are asking for help from our Trust nursing staff to work tonight & overnight & ask those available to work tonight to ring 07825 140 173.”
The hospitals are struggling to cope
The call came in a day after hundreds of anti-mask and vaccine passport protesters gathered in Belfast city centre.
On Friday, the health trust said it was postponing elective orthopaedic surgery “due to the significant pressures” caused in part by COVID-19 admissions.
It said the trust’s three acute hospitals had 71 COVID-19 inpatients on Friday and were experiencing “significant bed pressures” due to “an unprecedented number of patients attending through our emergency departments”.
Northern Ireland has seen a spike in coronavirus cases in the past 10 days after gradually increasing since mid-June.
More people are also now being admitted to hospital with the virus.
There are now more hospital beds occupied in Northern Ireland than are usually available, with hospitals having to set up extra beds to accommodate both COVID and non-COVID patients.
A total of 163 inpatients have COVID-19 across the country as of Sunday and there are currently 52 outbreaks at care homes.
On Sunday, a further 1,264 cases were recorded and two more deaths.