Written Answers. - Hospital Accommodation.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

142 Ms O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of acute hospital beds; the way in which this compares with the OECD average; his views on the adequacy of these numbers; and the plans, if any, he has to increase these. [1953/99]

The total number of designated acute hospital beds at 25 January 1999 was 12,286.

A 1998 OECD statistical publication provided comparative information on hospital in-patient care, setting out the number of beds per 1,000 of population of each OECD member state in 1996. This describes Ireland as having 4.9 beds per 1,000 of population (based on 1995 figures) as against 4.7 beds per 1,000 of population in the United Kingdom and 4.2 beds per 1,000 of population in the United States of America. The overall average for all OECD member states was 7.98 beds per 1,000 of population. A deal of caution should be used in assessing these figures, owing to the fact that health systems deliver very different services in different countries. In addition, the demands of the public vary between countries with, for example, continental systems having to deal with much higher proportions of their population in the older age groups.