The HSE has advised that all necessary action is currently being undertaken in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure that organ donation and transplant services continue in so far as practically possible. However, due to the risk Covid-19 presents to transplant patients, and the negative impact increased pressure on ICU capacity has on transplant services, reduced levels of organ donation and transplant service activity will continue to be experienced during the pandemic.
The HSE has advised that Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland (ODTI) and the transplant centres have worked to ensure that the most time critical and life-saving transplants proceeded based on careful risk-benefit assessment.
In regard to critical care particularly, there is an acknowledged capacity deficit as set out in the Health Service Capacity Review which was noted by Government in 2018. In December last year, Government noted the Strategic Plan for Critical Care which aims to address this and which sets out a plan for reaching 446 critical care beds nationally over time. Very significant funding of €52m was provided by Government in 2021, and a further €10.5m this year, to progress implementation of the Plan. This funding has seen critical care capacity increasing from 255 permanent critical care beds in early 2020 to 297 currently, with the aim of reaching 340 by early 2023, a 33% increase.