156 new hospital beds on the way for Limerick and Mid West

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

THERE are an additional 156 acute in-patient beds on the way for Mid West hospitals by 2028.

Health Minister Stephan Donnelly said in an interview on Newstalk radio today (Wednesday) that there will be an extra 3,500 more hospital beds countrywide built by the year 2031.

University Hospital Limerick is set to receive an additional 84 beds by 2008 , with 24 going to Nenagh Hospital – while further down the line, 42 beds are ringfenced for St John’s Hospital in Limerick between 2029 and 2031.

The 156 beds committed by 2028 will start to be rolled out by March of next year, while the 42 for St John’s will commence in 2029 and be in place by 2031.

“We’ve already opened 1,200 [beds] in the lifetime of this Government but today we’re going much further,” he told Newstalk’s Hard Shoulder programme.

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“Today, we’re announcing a plan to add another nearly 3,500 more hospital beds”.

As well as increased hospital bed capacity, Minister Donnelly promised more staff would be recruited to work in the health service.

“If you think of places like Cork University Hospital or Galway or St Vincent’s, it’s the equivalent of about six hospitals.

“We’ve about 440 of those beds currently under construction and today we’re laying out a path to the biggest expansion in hospital capacity and hospital beds in many decades.”

Fianna Fail Deputy, Cathal Crowe welcomed the announcement, saying it will not only provide more beds in UHL but will take the pressure off the busy hospital with new bed provision in Ennis and St John’s.

Ennis has a crucial role to play in helping to alleviate overcrowding in UHL – a point I have vociferously made to my colleagues, including Minister Stephen Donnelly, and the only way it can do this is by having additional capacity and an expanded scope of services.

“Today’s announcement follows two recent meetings held between myself, Friends of Ennis General Hospital and Minister Donnelly where we highlighted these very needs to him.

“I have long been outspoken in my belief that the political decision to downgrade the A&E in Ennis back in 2009, leaving only one Model 3 hospital in the Midwest, was a retrograde step that never resulted in us getting this promised ‘centre of excellence’>