Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (311)

Carol Nolan


311. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health the number of ICU beds that existed in public hospitals in February 2020; the number that currently exist; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7782/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Significant additional critical care capacity has been put in place in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, with funding for 40 additional adult critical care beds provided in March 2020 . The HSE has advised that between 280 and 285 permanent adult critical care beds are now fully staffed and open, with the precise number on any given day fluctuating due to staffing or other operational factors. This compares to a baseline figure of 255 beds available in January 2020. However, as is currently the case in the context of the demands of Covid, the number of critical care beds can surge beyond the baseline of 280-285 as part of an emergency response.

A Strategic Plan for Critical Care was noted by Government in December 2020 and aims to bring permanent adult critical care capacity in Ireland to 321 by the end of 2021 and to 446 in the long term in line with the recommendations of the Health Service Capacity Review.

A total of €52m was provided to advance the Critical Care Strategic Plan in Budget 2021. This will retain, on a permanent basis, the 40 adult critical care beds put in place on a temporary basis last year and add significant new build bed capacity, as well as allowing for the development of a workforce plan and education initiatives to grow the critical care workforce.

In relation to the specific queries raised by the Deputy, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to her to provide the details requested.