Public residential care units are an essential part of our healthcare infrastructure. They provide about 5,000 long stay beds, amounting to approximately 20% of the total stock of nursing home beds nationally. There are also about 2,000 short stay community public beds.
It is important that we maintain and upgrade our public bed stock and this is the aim of the Capital Investment Programme for Community Nursing Units. This provides the framework to allow for the replacement and refurbishment of 90 public community nursing units across the country.
The Health Service Capacity Review and the National Development Plan acknowledge the future need for additional capacity and it is expected that 4,500 additional short-term and long-term beds will be required provided across the public system in community nursing units and other step-down facilities.
Health capital projects and programmes, currently underway will continue, including planned investment in community nursing units.
It is important to recognise that the National Development Plan is a long-term plan, which will roll out over ten years and includes provision for a large number of developments across the country.
As is to be expected with a ten-year plan, many proposals are at an early stage and, as with all capital development proposals, will require further appraisal, planning, design and tender before a firm timeline or funding required can be established.
Appraisal and planning across all Community Healthcare Organisations in line with health strategies and demographic needs will inform the selection of projects for delivery of these new beds and additional capacity.