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Government announces plan for delivery of over 4,000 acute hospital beds

By Reporter - 29th May 2024

hospital beds

The Government has published an Acute Inpatient Hospital Bed Expansion Plan, which aims to deliver 4,367 acute hospital inpatient beds by 2031.

The figure includes 3,352 new beds, with the location of these new beds mapped across the six regional health areas. The 3,352 new beds announced today (29 May) includes 2,997 net additional beds, as well as 355 replacement beds.

These new beds are in addition to the 1,015 beds already under construction or previously committed to by the Government.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said:

“I initiated and developed this Plan as I recognise that we need to increase our bed capacity to meet the healthcare needs of our growing and ageing population. Delivery of this Plan will result in the equivalent bed capacity of six large hospitals opening and will be a gamechanger for patients and healthcare workers.”

Since 2020 an additional 1,218 inpatient acute beds have been opened, “representing the largest expansion of public acute hospital capacity in the history of the health service”, according to a statement from the Department of Health.

Minister Donnelly added:

“This Plan, coupled with the significant increase in bed capacity already delivered under this Government, demonstrates our commitment to invest in hospital bed capacity and plan appropriately for the future. This Plan will be delivered alongside ongoing investment in community care, as well as a strong focus on improving efficiency and productivity across the health service.”

This new Plan was informed by HSE modelling and a site-by-site assessment, as well as ongoing work by the Economic and Social Research Institute.

Excluding beds that have already opened, this represents a total planned capacity increase of 3,438 net additional acute inpatient beds and 929 replacement acute inpatient beds over the period 2024 to 2031.

Minister for Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform Paschal Donohoe stated:

“It is clear that the investment this government has made in health has delivered demonstrable progress. Notably, waiting lists have fallen for the past two years. The average number of patients on trolleys is also falling and many of our hospitals have made enormous progress. We recognise that demand for healthcare is increasing and that we must plan appropriately for the future. We also recognise the need for more reform and I welcome the strong focus on this from Minister Donnelly.”

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