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Reactionary statement from IHCA on the Bed Capacity Review

[ Wednesday, 24th January 2018 ]

23 January, 2018: The President of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) welcomed the publication of the Bed Capacity Review today, and the implicit recognition that a lack of basic bed capacity is a fundamental problem in health care in Ireland. The Association has advocated an expansion of acute hospital and day care beds for many years.  

Dr Tom Ryan, President of the IHCA, said that the Association recognises the parallel need to dedicate more resources to primary and community care and welcomes the recommendations to expand community care. However, he expressed concern that the projected increased capacity requirements of 2,600 beds by 2031 is over optimistic in respect to the benefits that will accrue from expanded and reformed community care.

The IHCA is particularly concerned that the report’s recommendations may fail to deal with the current levels of unmet medical needs, and that waiting lists to see a hospital consultant and to have elective surgery will persist. Dr Tom Ryan highlighted that, given the extent of the overcrowding in acute hospitals and the unacceptable number of patients being treated on trolleys, and the increasing number of patients on waiting lists, it is critically important that the proposed increase in bed numbers is implemented without delay.

Dr Ryan noted that health care systems in other OECD countries, that have better community and primary care, also have many more hospital beds than the report recommends for Ireland by 2031. On this basis the IHCA is concerned that Ireland needs more beds than advocated in the review. However the overall tone of the report is to be welcomed.

Speaking about the Bed Capacity Review Dr Tom Ryan said: “It is now imperative to deliver acute hospital and day care beds so that the waiting lists can be reduced, so that our hospitals will be safe for patients and so that we can improve our populations’ health. Given the current state of health care in Ireland, any delay implementing these proposals will expose the population to the consequences of under resourced acute hospital services.”

The IHCA has sought a meeting with the Minister for Health, Mr Simon Harris, to discuss the optimum ways to address the overwhelming acute hospital capacity deficits which are preventing the timely delivery of care to patients.  


For further information contact:

James Dunny, FleishmanHillard + 353 86 388 3903

Fiona Murphy, FleishmanHillard +353 87 819 4464