There has been significant investment in acute bed capacity in recent years. €236 million revenue and €40 million capital expenditure were provided nationally last year to fund additional beds on a permanent basis in our acute hospitals. To date, the Winter Plan / Budget 2021 has provided 799 non-ICU acute beds to the hospital system over the number available on 1 January 2020. As part of this, 10 additional beds were opened in Mayo University Hospital in January 2021.
A number of capital projects are ongoing at Mayo University Hospital to increase capacity and improve patient flow. The extension project to the Emergency Department at the Hospital comprises a new extension to the ED, reconfiguration of the existing ED with 7 additional ED assessment & treatment spaces, and a new first floor Medical Assessment Unit with 10 spaces. It is envisaged that a design team will be selected, and that the design process will commence, by January 2022. An indicative project timeline envisages completion of construction in 2026.
I published The HSE Winter Plan for Winter 21/22 on 15th November. The Government allocated an additional €1.1bn, including winter funding, in budget 2021 to support health services in the acute, community care, and primary care sectors and this is being maintained in 2022. The Plan centres on three core objectives: ED avoidance, patient flow and hospital egress to mitigate the expected challenges in providing emergency care this winter while also continuing to respond to Covid 19.
Specific measures, with a full year cost of €77m, include provision of Aids and Appliances; GP and Out of Hours supports; Social Inclusion; Older Persons Hospital Discharge Liaison; Transitional Care Beds; Hospital Avoidance / ED Front Door Initiatives; Acute Diagnostic; Disability supports; Mental Health supports; Palliative Care. As such, the Plan recognises that a whole system response is required and outlines how the HSE proposes to manage these challenges across primary, community and acute care including measures to allow the public system to access private healthcare capacity.