Thursday, 25 May 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
127. Mr. Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she expects to achieve the mid-way target at the end of 2006 for 1500 new hospital beds in accordance with the National Health Strategy. [20268/06]
Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children (Ms Harney): The Health Strategy contained a commitment to increase the number of acute hospital beds by 3000 over a ten year period. The Strategy did not set a mid-way target or a target of beds to be provided by year.
In 2001, the year of the publication of Health Strategy, the average number of in-patient beds and day places available for treatment of patients in public acute hospitals was 12,145. Hospital returns for 2005 show that this number has risen to 13,255, an increase of 1,110 in-patient beds and day places. 90% of treatment places in acute hospitals are overnight in-patient beds. In addition, a further 450 acute beds/day places are in various stages of planning and development under the Capital Investment Framework 2005-2009.
In July 2005, I announced an initiative to have private beds built on the campuses of public hospitals. The aim of this initiative is to enable up to 1000 beds in public hospitals, which are currently used by private patients, to be re-designated for use by public patients. The HSE recently advertised for expressions of interest to construct private hospitals on the sites of 11 publicly funded hospitals. These additional in-patient beds/day places will mean that our commitment to increase total acute hospital capacity will be virtually complete.
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