Doctors working in Sydney’s overflowing intensive care units have been approached by the Federal Government seeking advice ahead of national cabinet on Friday about whether the already struggling health care system will be able to cope once lockdowns are eased.
Health Department Secretary Brendan Murphy has written to the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society to ask for estimates about the pressure on hospitals, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The information gathering mission, sent to all states and territories, comes as the Prime Minister vows to reopen the country once vaccination rates reach 70 per cent.
Meanwhile, three of Sydney’s major hospitals are bearing the load of NSW’s escalating crisis.
Westmead, Nepean and Liverpool hospitals are treating the bulk of the state’s coronavirus patients, according to data obtained by the SMH.
Of those COVID-19 patients hospitalised, about 120 are being treated at each of Westmead and Liverpool hospitals. There are almost 100 cases at Nepean.
At Westmead Hospital, the intensive care unit is now only caring for those with coronavirus while other patients have been moved into a makeshift ICU.
Yesterday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned that October would be the worst month for hospitalisations as the state recorded 1290 new cases and four more deaths.
Eighty per cent of the new infections are in south-western and western Sydney.
“We anticipate that the worst month, the worst time for our intensive care unit, will be in October,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We also know from the information we have, the accumulation of cases and the number unvaccinated, that October is likely to be our worst month in terms of pressure on the system and that is why we have been gearing up for that and we have been nearly two years.
“And the number of cases we have in intensive care will depend on our vaccination rate.
“Our hospital system is under pressure. Will we need to do things differently? Of course, we will.”