The Terms of Reference and the scope of the Capacity Review did not include the costing of additional capacity. The Review was tasked with outlining the potential effects of reform scenarios on the demand for health and social care services. It was not tasked with modelling the potential impact of the Sláintecare proposals on future demand and capacity, although the reform scenarios outlined in the Review align with the principles underlying Sláintecare. Further, the Capacity Review recognised that Sláintecare provides the direction of travel for reform of healthcare delivery. My Department is developing an implementation plan for the Sláintecare Report and I expect to bring proposals to Government shortly.
The Review has established two extremes that define the indicative range and scale of potential capacity needs up to 2031 and the level of reforms involved. The review recognised that further work would be needed to assess the optimum reform strategy that takes account of workforce, the whole life cost of services, eligibility arrangements and their impact on implementing reforms, the feasibility of delivering infrastructure and impact on operational services in the timeframe. As the Deputy will appreciate, costing is an important and complex process in its own right. For example, it is important to state that there is no one cost for a hospital bed. The cost is dependent on the nature of the bed (such as Inpatient, Daycase, critical care), the specialty and where the bed will be delivered (for example, an existing hospital, an extension, or a new development). Following from this, the findings of the report have been the subject of discussions with the Minister for Public Expenditure in the context of the forthcoming National Development Plan.
As a final point, I would like to reiterate what I have stated previously, that adding additional capacity can't be the only answer. In tandem, we need fundamental reform of our health system - with significant development of the primary and community care system, and Sláintecare provides the blueprint for this.