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Bed occupancy at Beaumont Hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) was at 123 per cent in October and November 2018 and over 100 per cent for every month of last year.
The hospital’s annual report for 2018 also outlined that its critical care units had a combined capacity for 19 beds admitting approximately 900 critically ill patients each year.
In 2016, its annual report warned that the increasing volume of patients requiring complex surgery had “routinely exceeded existing critical care capacity”. This was “leading to treatment delay and less-than-optimal postoperative management”.
A high-dependency unit (HDU) opened at the hospital on a phased basis last December.
Typically, patients in the HDU will have single-organ failure and are at a high risk of developing complications. The HDU has resources for immediate resuscitation and management of critically-ill patients.
A spokesperson for Beaumont said it currently has nine critical care beds open in the general ICU, eight in the neuro-critical ICU, four in the HDU, and 12 in the coronary care unit. In regard to capacity development, four additional HDU beds are due to open in the third quarter of 2019 and two additional ICU beds in the final quarter of this year.
The hospital provided no comment on the manner in which critical care patients are managed in the context of bed occupancy of over 100 per cent.
The IHCA recently highlighted that Ireland places below most other European countries in provision of critical care beds.