Government announces plan for delivery of 4,367 acute hospital beds

29th May, 2024

  • New Plan to deliver 3,352 new beds (2,997 net new hospital beds + 355 replacement beds)
  • These beds are in addition to the 1,015 hospital beds under construction and/or committed to, bringing the total number of new beds to be delivered by 2031 to 4,367
  • Since 2020 this Government has already delivered 1,218 net additional acute hospital beds 


The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and the Minister for Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform Paschal Donohoe, today announced the Acute Inpatient Hospital Bed Expansion Plan, which aims to deliver 4,367 acute hospital in-patient beds by 2031. 


This includes 3,352 new beds, with the location of these new beds mapped across the six regional health areas. The 3,352 new beds announced today includes 2,997 net additional beds, as well as 355 replacement beds (see table below for detailed breakdown). These new beds are in addition to the 1,015 beds already under construction or previously committed to (see table below for detailed breakdown). 


The Plan delivers on the Minister for Health’s commitment to ensure balanced regional bed capacity and to ensure patients across Ireland have equity of access. 


Minister Donnelly said: 

“I initiated and developed this Plan as I recognise that we need to increase our bed capacity to meet the healthcare needs of our growing and ageing population. Delivery of this Plan will result in the equivalent bed capacity of six large hospitals opening and will be a gamechanger for patients and healthcare workers.” 


Today’s announcement follows an unprecedented investment in healthcare capacity under this government. Since 2020 an additional 1,218 inpatient acute beds have been opened, representing the largest expansion of public acute hospital capacity in the history of the Health Service. 


Minister Donnelly added: 

“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. 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.”


This new Plan was informed by HSE modelling and a site-by-site assessment, as well as ongoing work by the ESRI. Excluding beds that have already opened, this represents a total planned capacity increase of 3,438 net additional acute in-patient beds and 929 replacement acute inpatient beds over the period 2024 to 2031.


Minister Donohoe said: 

“It is clear that the investment this government has made in health has delivered demonstrable progress. Notably, waiting lists have fallen for the past two years. The average number of patients on trolleys is also falling and many of our hospitals have made enormous progress. We recognise that demand for healthcare is increasing and that we must plan appropriately for the future. We also recognise the need for more reform and I welcome the strong focus on this from Minister Donnelly.”


Minister Donnelly concluded: 

“I am very grateful to Minister Donohoe for the additional capital funding which provides confirmed NDP allocations for the additional beds to be delivered by the end of 2026. We expect funding to be provided under the next National Development Plan to deliver the remainder of the beds due from 2027-2031.”


The new planned allocation is detailed in the table below, as are beds already delivered by Government and beds that have already been committed to/are under construction.