HSE National Crisis Management Team (NCMT)

The HSE has established a National Crisis Management Team (NCMT) to oversee the health service response to the surge of winter virus infections which is expected to bring the highest pressure on the State’s health service that has ever been seen in the coming weeks. This NCMT, which will augment the ongoing Winter Plan work, has met twice this week and will operate throughout the Christmas period.

With flu and Covid-19 infection and hospitalisation numbers expected to rise very rapidly in the coming few weeks the NCMT, composed of senior health service leadership including representatives of Hospital Groups and Community Healthcare Organisations, will give national support and guidance to the response of hospitals and community services throughout the country.

“Our services around the country have made and are implementing plans to address the forthcoming pressure”, according to HSE CEO Mr Stephen Mulvany.  “The role of the NCMT will be to give them support and to provide national overview and action when appropriate.”  

A National Crisis Management Team provides the highest level of escalation of an issue, and brings together senior healthcare leaders with relevant specialists to put national focus on a particular matter.

Our health services are currently facing huge challenges due to the continuing rise in the number of cases of Covid-19, influenza and other respiratory illnesses and the subsequent increasing rates of hospitalisation.  From our preliminary analysis, the HSE is concerned that we may see over 900 patients in hospital with flu in the first week in January with that number likely continuing to rise further into January.  Regarding Covid-19 and other respiratory viruses, we are now seeing a higher number of hospitalised cases this winter than had been anticipated in our more pessimistic projections. As of 8am on Thursday, 22nd December there are 656 people in hospital with Covid-19, 26 of whom are confirmed cases in ICU. There are c1,200 people currently hospitalised with respiratory conditions.

This surge in respiratory illnesses will seriously impact our hospitals and Emergency Departments, and will place primary care services such as GP and GP out-of-hours services under further pressure.

Over the coming period the HSE will continue to actively engage with all stakeholders including GPs, our own staff, private hospitals, nursing homes and other relevant partners.  HSE senior leaders will visit hospitals and other healthcare sites around the country over the coming period to see and understand the situation at first hand and to offer support.

Mr Mulvany said: “It is now looking increasingly likely that we will see the demand for health services rising well above anything we have seen before. It is therefore critical that we continue to prepare to the maximum level possible for the projected further surge in demand for services in late December and early January - over and above the current high level of demand. We are working to ensure that every available resource is mobilised and utilised to respond to the needs of our patients who are seeking urgent and emergency care. 

“We would also urge all those eligible for and due to be vaccinated to do so as soon as possible.”


Last updated on: 22 / 12 / 2022