Irish hospitals have a below average number of ICU beds, with just 5.2 available for every 100,000 adults, according to OECD data
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said the role critical care plays in the Irish health system â€˜cannot be overstatedâ€™, while also reaffirming that additional funding of over â‚¬10m will be given to the health system for ICU beds throughout 2022.
The government says it aims to bring the number of critical care beds across the country to â€˜at least 340â€™ by the end of the year, but Donnelly did not say whether or not that was related to what happened with the pandemic.
The Minister made the comments while speaking at the National Critical Care Conference in Dublin Castle this morning, which took place under theme of â€˜The Future of Critical Care in Irelandâ€™.
â€œEnsuring the right resources are in place for our most critically ill patients is a priority for me and for this government,â€ said Donnelly.
â€œ2022 will see further investment in the area of critical care. Funding of â‚¬10.5m has been provided for additional critical care beds in 2022, bringing the total to at least 340, an increase of 85 since the start of the pandemic. Having come through the greatest challenge that ever faced our health and social care service, the role of critical care cannot be overstated.â€
In the first and third surges of the virus, an additional critical care surge capacity of 70 beds was provided to Irish hospitals, according to the HSEâ€™s National Adult Critical Care Capacity Census Report 2020. This increased total capacity to 350.
The CCP is a collaborative multi-professional, patient-centred initiative. It is administered by National Clinical Programmes, Clinical Strategy and Programmes Directorate, and the HSE, in liaison with the Joint Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine of Ireland and Intensive Care Society of Ireland.