Average of 10,893 inpatient beds open during 2018

There was an average of 10,893 inpatient beds open during 2018, which was the highest number since 2010, according to The Open Beds Report, produced by the Department of Health. Maureen Browne reports.

Maureen Browne
Maureen Browne

However, the 2018 figure was a reduction of 476 on the number open in 2009.
The report says there was an average of 2,218 day beds/places open during 2018, which was the highest number in the last ten years. Each of the seven Hospital Groups had an increase in the number of day beds/places open in 2018 compared to 2009.

Provisional figures showed that there were 10,972 inpatient beds and 2,217 day beds/places open in February 2019.

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The report sets out the average available inpatient beds by Hospital Groups for the years 2009 – 2018. The six adult Hospital Groups all had fewer beds available on average in 2018 than in 2009, while the Children’s Group had a small increase.

The number of available inpatient beds was expected to increase to above 11,000 following the investment planned in the National Service Plan 2019.

The report shows that in 2018 Ireland East had 2,282 beds compared to 2,301 in 2009. The Dublin Midlands Group had 2,020 in 2018 compared to 2,255 in 2009. The South/South West Group had 2,060 beds available in 2018 compared to 2,249 in 2019. In the Saolta Group there were 1,762 beds available in 2018 compared to 1,794 in 2009. The RCSI Hospitals Group had 1,662 beds available in 2018 compared to 1,689 in 2009. The UL Hospitals Group had 773 beds available in 2018 compared to 765 in 2009. The Children’s Hospitals had 334 beds available in 2019 compared to 316 in 2009.

The Open Beds Report provides an outline of the average numbers of open inpatient beds and day beds/places in the acute hospital system on a monthly basis.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) Acute Business Information Unit (Acute BIU) provide the data for the report, and the figures show the average number of beds or places open in each hospital for the month or year specified.

Data for 2018 and 2019 are provisional and remain subject to validation by Acute BIU.
The report said the Health Service Capacity Review 2018 recommended an increase of 2,590 acute hospital beds across the system by 2031 to support the projected increase in demand for services in the years ahead.

“The National Development Plan provides for the full 2,590 beds by 2027.
A capacity programme for 2019 has been agreed, which provides for the following increases in capacity, as set out in the National Service Plan 2019:

“A capacity programme for 2019 has been agreed, which provides for the following increases in capacity, as set out in the National Service Plan 2019.

Seventy eight additional beds, including a 40-bed modular build in South Tipperary General Hospital, and a 30-bed ward in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda;

Seventy five acute beds and 70 community beds as part of the Winter Plan 2018/2019;

Preparation of 202 beds by quarter 4 2019 with a view to bringing this extra capacity into operation in the first quarter of 2020. “

The report said the number of available inpatient beds was expected to increase to above 11,000 following the investment planned in the National Service Plan 2019.