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Criticism of the Government to build “sufficient hospital capacity” has been voiced by a Clare TD.

Just nine beds additional beds have been provided across the entire country this year by the Irish Government.

During Leader’s Questions on Wednesday, Deputy Michael McNamara (IND) aired his frustration to better equip the nation’s health service and asked the Taoiseach what is being done to increase hospital capacity.

Of the 293 patients on trolleys on Monday, 60 of them were at University Hospital Limerick. “For all the billions that have been spent addressing the pandemic, the Government has failed to build sufficient hospital capacity,” the Clare TD stated.

Deputy McNamara commented, “We imported the ideas of lockdowns from China but in China they also built hospitals in fourteen days in response to COVID-19, the HSE’s capacity census last year showed ICU capacity in Ireland increased from 255 to 280 in the nine months from April to December”.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin (FF) said funding of €52m was provided in Budget 2021 to allow for 66 permanent critical care beds to be put in place to bring permanent baseline capacity to 321 by the end of 2021. At the beginning of 2020 the figure was 255. The leader of Fianna Fáil said 41 of the 66 beds are now staffed and opened permanently.

McNamara replied, “I’ve no doubt that money is being spent, your Government is throwing money around like its confetti, our borrowings are entirely sustainable but above all the barometre is the number of people on trolleys and the number of people on trolleys is still at an all-time high, whatever you’re doing and money you’re spending is not having the impact that we need because there are 60 people on trolleys in Limerick last Monday, that is not good enough”.

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