Tuesday, 21 July 2020
Department of Health
629. To ask the Minister for Health if he will honour the commitment by his predecessor to provide the necessary funding to Letterkenny University Hospital to enable it to reopen all the beds in its short-stay ward. [16639/20]
The Programme for Government, Our Shared Future, commits to continuing investment in our health care services in line with the recommendations of the Health Service Capacity Review and the commitments in Project Ireland 2040.
The Capacity Review found that the net requirement, in a reform scenario, is for an additional 2,590 hospital beds by 2031 (inpatient, day case, critical care) with an immediate requirement for 1,290 beds to address overcrowding and to ensure hospitals operated at 85% occupancy in line with other OECD countries. Approximately 770 additional beds have been provided to date. This includes an additional 5 beds in Letterkenny University Hospital as part of the 2018/2019 Winter Plan. The National Development Plan provides for the addition of the full 2,590 beds by the earlier date of 2027.
The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) agreed to support the marginal costs of funding 220 additional beds for three months to the end of March 2020. As of 16 March 2020, the HSE confirmed 197 of those beds have opened as planned, including 10 additional beds in Letterkenny University Hospital. The agreement with the NTPF was extended at the beginning of March to facilitate the beds to remain open until the end of June 2020 due to the Covid 19 outbreak. A further extension has been approved until the 31st December 2020.
The future opening of additional acute bed capacity will be considered in the context of the Estimates discussions for the years concerned 2020 and on the priorities in the HSE's National Service Plans for those years.