Regardless of the recent purchase of ventilator machines, hospitals continue to suffer from a severe shortage of ICU nurses. The lack of restrictive measures from the government is also threatening to pose a heavy burden on the capacity of healthcare institutions.
“The number of intensive care nurses determines capacity and not the available equipment”
– said Péter Hegyi, head of Translational Medicine Foundation (Transzlációs Medicina Alapítvány) at a video conference last week, which was organised by the same team as the one who had prepared materials for the operative body earlier this year.
He argues that the insufficient number of ICU nurses for hospital beds leads to a “huge loss of quality” in patient care, reports 444. In April, for example, there were about 2,000 hospital beds and 2,000 nurses, which was already not optimal. Hegyi argues that with shifts and bank holidays also considered, the ideal ratio should be three nurses per hospital bed.
But since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many sources have since reported an increase in hospital beds to 8,000, while the headcount remained the same. What makes things more complicated is that nurses should not be allowed to wear that type of protective gear for more than eight hours – this taken into account, the ideal ratio would be six nurses per hospital bed.
Back to the restrictive measures?
Unfortunately, the measures taken by the government seem to be going in the opposite direction. Even though the above information was communicated to the operative body,
Foreign affairs have purchased 16,000 ventilators, which was then further increased with 2,500. Not to mention the government’s latest order to free up 10,000 hospital beds
And with the increasing number of infections again, the existing personnel is expected to suffer a much larger burden than before. Hegyi argues that the key would be in taking restrictive measures, similarly to what was done in spring with the closure of schools, for example.
These measures could help reduce the R-number and slow down the spread of the virus – otherwise soon there will be a shortage of hospital beds, too. Another crucial thing would be testing. “There is a direct link between the number of tests taken and the number of fatal cases”, says the article, concluding the results of Hegyi’s analysis.