Twenty new beds are to be opened at Cork University Hospital in a bid to alleviate pressure on the hospital emergency department (ED).
Health Minister Simon Harris told the Oireachtas Health Committee this morning that up to 190 beds will be opened in hospitals across Ireland in the coming weeks.
The Echo understands that around 20 beds have been earmarked for CUH, which has seen severe overcrowding in recent weeks.
Speaking to The Echo about the bed allocation, CUH consultant in emergency medicine, Dr Conor Deasy said it is a step in the right direction.
“We are playing catch up,” he added.
“It is vital we get moving on creating this bed capacity immediately.
“There will be recruitment and infrastructural work to do,” said Dr Deasy.
Other hospitals set to benefit from the bed allocation include the Children's Hospitals in Dublin, Waterford University Hospital, University Hospital Limerick, Letterkenny University Hospital and the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore.
Minister Harris said that 83 beds have already been approved at these hospitals and that the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) is engaging with the hospital groups to finalise details.
The twenty new beds for CUH come just weeks after the hospital was denied additional funding from the HSE to open an additional 31 bed medical ward and provide staffing for it to deal with increased demand and overcrowding.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) claimed that the hospital sought additional funding for the ward and staff as part of its winter plan but that its request was denied by the HSE at national level.
Speaking to The Echo in recent weeks, INMO Industrial Relations Officer for Cork Liam Conway, said that CUH received only part of the funding that they had sought in the local winter plan.
He added that CUH had sought funding for an additional 31 bed medical ward including staffing.
“This was not approved at national level,” he said, adding there was no “funding for additional staffing or bed capacity”.
The INMO has been calling for increased bed capacity at CUH to alleviate overcrowding and trolley pressure.