The National Hospital’s emergency ward operated at level three alert this weekend due to lack of space, RÚV reports. The waiting list for admission was 30 patients long, in part due to an influenza outbreak in the hospital. Twenty-seven patients at the hospital have come down with the flu, 14 of them just last week.
Chief Physician Jón Magnús Kristjánsson says the waiting list for emergency care was unusually long this weekend. “There was no single thing that explained the situation over the weekend, but the flu is in full swing which was a part of the situation,” he stated. Patients with influenza in some cases require hospitalisation for weeks.
Jón Magnús pointed out that such conditions could easily create a dangerous environment. “It’s always more difficult to fully ensure good service and safety for patients under these conditions,” he stated, adding that extra staff had been called out in response to the situation.
The hospital usually operates at level two alert. At level three, all the hospital’s departments are activated and admit more patients than otherwise. “What needs to be done to prevent such a state of affairs is to provide adequate resources for elderly people who have completed their hospital treatment and to ensure adequate staffing of nurses and medical staff at the hospital’s inpatient ward,” Jón Magnús explained. While there is a plan to increase the number of hospital beds in the Reykjavík capital area over the next few years, he said, “there is nothing that will solve this in the short term.”