Extra ICU capacity will allow hospitals to cope with ‘quite a bit of stress’

Infectious diseases physician Professor Robert Booy says hospitals around the country should be able to cope with “quite a bit of stress” as several jurisdictions continue to battle isolated COVID-19 outbreaks.

Concerns have been raised over the healthcare system’s ability to cope with high caseloads in the wake of reports of ambulances ramping at major Sydney hospitals.

However, Professor Booy said hospitals should cope with additional capacity for patients in ICUs around the nation.

“There’s no doubt that many countries overseas did crack, many people died from not being able to get intensive care in Europe, in North America, in places that you’d expect high quality care,” he told Sky News Australia.

“We’re going to be under strain, we’ve got a system which has been planned for this kind of activity for over 18 months.

“We do have a fair bit of extra capacity, we can share out intensive care beds, not just in western Sydney but eastern Sydney and in regional areas like Newcastle so we have the capacity to cope with a lot more than we’re currently coping with.

“Of course, the system’s under strain, but for the moment I can see us coping but with quite a bit of stress.”