ICU bed numbers slump in Auckland

New information on ICU bed occupancy during the current outbreak shows the very slim margins district health boards are running with ICU beds, says National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti.

“On October 22, New Zealand’s largest number of ICU beds at Auckland DHB were down from 94 standing beds to just nine.

“The 28 ICU beds at Waikato Hospital have also been at occupancy of 25, 24 and 23 for consecutive days at the end of September. Lakes, with four ICU beds has had multiple days of full occupancy.

“All of this reaffirms that Andrew Little has squandered the past 18 months instead of building ICU capacity.

“The consequence of slim ICU margins is that lockdowns persist and 100,000 hospital procedures are cancelled, with that number increasing by 10,000 each week.

“Andrew Little’s suggestion that ICUs will ‘surge’ to 550 beds is a fantasy, because he doesn’t have the staff to do this. At best, he will simply cannabilise other units such as coronary care and neonatal intensive care, which will in turn further delay elective procedures.

“He urgently needs to speed up onshore and offshore health workforce accreditation and redirect health system restructuring money into increasing ICU capacity.

“This is especially so if modelling predictions hold for increasing case numbers – if he hasn’t realised, there are no models for ‘ICU in the community’.”

You can find the supporting documents below:

  • View here - Number of resourced and occupied ICU Beds and ventilators in use each day as per the daily DHB census, from 16 August 2021 to 26 October 2021
  • View here - Estimated number of deferred procedures due to COVID-19 between 15 August 2021 and 24 October 2021