Written answers

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Department of Health

Hospital Facilities

Photo of Verona MurphyVerona Murphy (Wexford, Independent)
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47. To ask the Minister for Health the additional intensive care unit capacity, beds and trained personnel that has been put in place since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37683/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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At the start of last year, permanent adult critical care capacity was 255 beds, according to the National Office of Clinical Audit. Funding for 40 additional beds was provided in March 2020, initially on a temporary basis,  as part of the response to Covid-19. 

The Strategic Plan for Critical Care aims to bring permanent capacity to 321 by the end of 2021 and to 446 in the longer term. This is the largest single increase in recent memory and will make a real difference to our critical care staff, who have done extraordinary work under extreme pressure throughout the pandemic.

Budget 2021 allocated €52m to the implementation of this Strategic Plan. This will retain permanently the 40 beds provided in 2020 and will add further new build capacity to bring baseline permanent capacity to 321 beds by year end. This funding also allows for workforce planning and education initiatives to grow the critical care workforce.

The HSE has advised that 42 of the 66 beds funded for 2021 are now permanently open, bringing the national baseline to 297. The number of beds open on any given day fluctuates as a result of a variety of factors. The HSE has further advised that the number of staff associated with these beds is of the order of 400. Recruitment and capital works are ongoing to open the remaining beds as soon as possible.



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