Cameron backs request for military expertise to boost health service capacity

DUP South Antrim MLA and Vice Chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Health Committee Pam Cameron has supported a fresh appeal by the Department of Health for military assistance to help ease pressures facing hospitals across Northern Ireland because of the latest increase in occupied ICU beds due to Covid-19.

By Pam Cameron MLA

South Antrim

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Commenting, Mrs Cameron said:

‘‘I am fully supportive of this move. The skills and experience of our Armed Forces medics on our hospital wards have proven valuable at previous stages of the pandemic. Given the tangible and sustained increase in occupied ICU beds over recent weeks, there can be no doubting the grounds or justification for their redeployment in Northern Ireland.

We must continue to exhaust every avenue to ensure our hospital wards and ICUs remain fully operational and are adequately staffed during what remains an extremely challenging period for those on the frontline. This will be critical to ensuring that every Covid-19 patient continues to receive the best possible care whilst supporting an irreversible restoration of vital routine health services, including elective surgery.

The DUP team at Westminster will therefore be pressing the Government to respond constructively to any formal requests for assistance to boost staff numbers and provide relief to those health professionals who have been working round the clock over the last weeks and months.

Ultimately, the best defence against stretched capacity in our health service is to prevent hospital admissions and serious illness with Covid-19. The vaccination programme provides a roadmap to normality not just for our economy or social settings but in our wards and operating theatres.

The number of young and unvaccinated patients currently in ICU is alarming and whilst being respectful of personal choice, I would strongly urge anyone aged 18 and over not to miss the last opportunity to get their first Covid-19 jab at one of Northern Ireland’s mass vaccination centres this weekend.’’

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