Government need to clarify the exact number and breakdown of beds and staff in the HSE Winter Plan

15 November 2021

Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith has welcomed the publication of the Government’s Winter Plan however said greater detail is needed. Calling for a new deal for healthcare in Ireland, Deputy Smith said we need detail on what role private hospitals will play when it comes to elective care and what can be done to end the two tier health system.

Deputy Smith said:

“We are facing into a challenging winter in the health service. Healthcare workers are exhausted from the pandemic and the cases are only going one way yet again. Our main line of defence in protecting lives are our workers, but they are over worked, under resourced and under valued.

“The plan published today points to extra bed capacity within our hospitals but we need to see details on the staffing numbers of these beds. There’s no point in increasing capacity if we don’t have the healthcare assistants, nurses and doctors to care for the patients in them. Indeed, we need to ensure that this plan is Covid-proofed. We know that the capacity will disappear when Covid gets into hospital because beds and wards close.

“Patient safety must be paramount at this juncture. It’s not good enough that it has taken an additional three months to sign off on this plan.

“We also need further detail from government on what role private hospitals will play when it comes to elective care. It’s essential that we begin to implement reforms within the health service and look to end the two tier health system at play in Ireland. People deserve the care they need when they need it.

“The reality is we face a crisis in care this winter. I will be seeking further assurances and clarification from the Minister that we will get through it safely.”

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