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Staff shortages in the health system remain the primary concern despite the announcement of €4bn in funding from Budget 2021.

Commitments for 1,146 extra beds, an increase in permanent adult critical care beds to 321 by end of year from 255 pre-Covid; 1,250 community beds in 2021 including 600 new rehabilitation beds are also included in the Budget.

Other key health related points from the Budget include:

  • Ireland has signed up to EU advance purchase agreements for potential Covid vaccines
  • Five million extra homecare hours
  • €5 million for development of community based dementia supports
  • €50m for new drugs and €25m for Healthy Ireland and National Drugs Strategy
  • €38m for mental health under Sharing the Vision
  • €100m for disability new services
  • 16,000 health sector posts
  • An extra €20 million for disability services through transforming lives programme €10 million in this year funding for voluntary hospices.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Noeleen Moran of the Mid-West Hospital Campaign outlined that issues surrounding staff shortages must be addressed. “I know there is an extra €4 billion being designated for health and that’s really welcome and there’s additional beds supposedly to come with that. Any money being directed at health is so necessary now, given all that is going on with this pandemic.

“It will remain to be seen, how it will address staff shortages, especially in University Hospital Limerick (UHL) and in the Mid-West region. That is our main concern. We need to see how it is going to be brought into effect. Addressing staff shortages is really crucial, as in every workplace, if someone comes into contact with a person that has Covid, they have to go out and that’s really impacting the health service and we are dealing with this on a daily basis. The funding is welcome, but it remains to be seen how it is going to be filtered down to stabilise the situation in the Mid-West”.

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