The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) has agreed, at my request, to support the marginal costs of funding additional beds for three months to the end of March 2020. This initiative will support the commitment by the HSE and my Department to alleviate winter pressures in our hospital system. Hospitals have been invited to make submissions to the NTPF to utilise this funding. To date, the NTPF has approved in principle, subject to appropriate governance and oversight, 172 additional beds. These beds will be funded from the NTPF budget at a cost of approximately €4.6 million. Furthermore, the NTPF is currently assessing further proposals which are still being received. Given the challenges facing the Emergency Departments, with the exceptionally high use of trolleys for patients, I would urge all hospital groups and individual hospitals, which have not already done so, to engage with the NTPF to identify proposals to provide additional bed capacity for the winter period.