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Fresh approach needed to address 1,000-bed deficit in hospitals – David Cullinane TD

29 March, 2023 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has called on the Minister for Health to deliver a multi-annual capacity expansion plan for the health service to address the current deficit of 1,000 beds.

Teachta Cullinane was responding to the publication of the ESRI’s quarterly economic commentary which showed outlines an estimated deficit of 1,000 beds in the health service currently, and a requirement for over 300 additional beds to be delivered every year out to 2030.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“Overcrowding in our public hospitals has reached a critical point. It is a year-round threat to patient safety and is no longer just a winter problem.

“The ESRI quarterly economic commentary published today outlines a severe capacity deficit of 1,000 beds, and a need for a further 330 beds every year for the next 7 years.

“It is clear from the persistent overcrowding in our hospitals, with more than 700 patients waiting for a bed on Monday morning. 

“Extreme levels of overcrowding are being reported every month, every week, and every day at almost every hospital.

“Government must urgently publish a multi-annual capacity expansion plan to deliver much needed hospital beds, additional diagnostic capacity, and expanded theatre capacity to equip hospitals to deal with the volume of care coming their way.

“This plan must also address Sláintecare reforms and community capacity, such as intermediate care beds and home support to deliver more care outside of hospitals and speed up discharge from hospitals.

“No improvement can be achieved without a paradigm shift in workforce planning.

"We need a radical increase in the number of healthcare workers we are training, and a serious change in approach to retention in the health service.

"Too many are leaving early in their career for opportunities abroad or in other sectors.

“Government has failed to act on each of these measures for far too long. The Minister for Health has no credibility until he produces a comprehensive multi-annual plan to expand capacity and tackle this crisis.”

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