The Irish Government has published its Acute Inpatient Bed Capacity Expansion 2024-2031, a plan to add 4,367 acute hospital inpatient beds by 2031.

The plan details the addition of 3,352 beds, including 2,997 net additional beds and 355 replacement acute inpatient beds, to the hospital network across six regional health areas in Ireland.

These beds will come in addition to the 1,015 beds that are already being built or were previously promised.

Apart from the beds that have been already opened, the total planned capacity increase from 2024 to 2031 amounts to 3,438 net additional acute inpatient beds and 929 replacement beds.

Since 2020, 1,218 new acute inpatient beds have been opened, with the government committing to a further 4,411 new and 5,742 replacement beds that are in various stages of development.

Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said: “This plan, coupled with the significant increase in bed capacity already delivered under this government, demonstrates our commitment to invest in hospital bed capacity and plan appropriately for the future.

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“This plan will be delivered alongside ongoing investment in community care, as well as a strong focus on improving efficiency and productivity across the health service.

“The delivery of this plan will result in the equivalent bed capacity of six large hospitals opening and will be a game-changer for patients and healthcare workers.”

The new plan was developed by modelling by Ireland’s Health Service Executive and assessments carried out on a site-by-site basis, complemented by ongoing research by the Economic and Social Research Institute.

It adheres to the Department of Health’s Strategic Health Investment Framework (SHIF), which emphasises the need to expand capacity to meet current and future needs in line with clinical strategies and plans.

The SHIF prioritises projects based on delivery timelines and environmental impact, as well as their use of traditional and modern construction methods.