Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (387)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

387. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health his plans to introduce more beds in Kerry University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21594/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As Minister for Health, I recognise that hospitals are increasingly operating at or above capacity, with year-round demand pressures that are further challenged over the winter months.

It is against this background that the Health Service Capacity Review 2018 recommended an increase in acute hospital beds of over 2,600 by 2031 to support the projected increase in demand for services in the years ahead. The National Development Plan 2018-2027 provides for the full 2,600 beds over its lifetime.

Since 2017, an additional 241 beds have been opened. A Capacity Programme for 2019 has been agreed, which provides for the following increases in capacity, as set out in the National Service Plan 2019:

- 78 additional beds, including the 40-bed modular build in South Tipperary General Hospital, the 30-bed ward in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, 4 HDU beds in the Mater Hospital and 4 HDU beds in Cork University Hospital;  

- 75 acute beds and 70 community beds to come on stream in 2019 as part of the Winter Plan 2018/19, of which 60 acute beds and 19 community beds have already opened; 

- preparation of 202 beds, including 29 beds in Kerry University Hospital, by quarter 4 2019 with a view to bringing this extra capacity into operation in the first quarter of 2020.  

- preparation of the proposed opening of a 60-bed modular build in University Hospital Limerick.

Steady progress is being made in increasing Bed Capacity with the number of available inpatient beds expected to increase to above 11,000 following the investment planned in the National Service Plan 2019.