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All 18 private hospitals now signed up to surge capacity deal as Beacon accepts arrangement

Until today, the Beacon Hospital had been the only private hospital not to sign up to the deal.

THE BEACON HOSPITAL has become the final private hospital in Ireland to sign up to a “safety net” deal that allows the HSE to use private beds while coping with capacity pressure during Covid-19 surges.

The deal between the HSE and other private hospitals will allow the health service to use, depending on the incidence of Covid-19, up to 30% of the private hospitals’ capacity.

Until today, the Beacon Hospital in Dublin had been the only private hospital not to sign up to the deal.

The hospital had raised concerns about the deal obliging the hospital to keep 30% of its beds free for public use – even when they’re not being used.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid said on Saturday that the hospital should rethink its decision and join the deal to provide additional beds. 

In a statement this afternoon, the Beacon Hospital confirmed that it is now entering into a safety net agreement with the HSE. 

“Following a period of positive engagement with the HSE, we are please to confirm that we have signed a new surge agreement,” Beacon Hospital CEO Michael Cullen said. 

“We are comfortable that the that the agreement shared with us on Sunday night addresses the concerns that we had raised and are pleased to be in a position where we will work even more closely with the HSE in the days and weeks ahead,” Cullen said. 

“Over the past four months, between 15% – 20% of Beacon Hospital’s surgical capacity and 55% of our ICU has been dedicated to meeting the healthcare needs of public patients with complex, time sensitive issues.

We look forward to continuing to do this work and to increasing the capacity available – up to 30% – if required by the HSE to help support the public system during this time of immense pressure.

In a statement this afternoon, the HSE welcomed the hospital’s decision to joint the arrangement. 

The HSE said this arrangement will provide support for public patients at a time when the public hospital system is under great pressure. 

“We are very pleased that the 18 private hospitals have now joined this arrangement, and look forward to working with them during this exceptionally challenging time for healthcare in Ireland,” HSE CEO Paul Reid said. 

Over the past few weeks, the Beacon Hospital has also been used as a vaccination centre for healthcare workers. The centre has the capacity to provide up to 9,000 vaccinations per week and has to date been used to vaccinate almost 1,500 HSE frontline workers. 

“We are also happy to accept the Beacon Hospital’s offer to give us the use of a mass vaccination centre. This centre has already been used to vaccinate HSE frontline workers and will prove very useful over the coming months. We are grateful for the offer,” Reid said. 

Hospital figures

There are now 1,954 people with Covid-19 in Irish hospitals, according to the latest data from the Covid-19 Data Hub.

There have been 115 admissions and 153 discharges in the past 24 hours.

Of that number, there are now 202 people in ICU, with 16 people admitted in the past 24 hours and 10 people discharged.

Yesterday, there were 2,023 people with Covid-19 in hospital, with over 400 of them receiving high-grade ventilation. The previous day, there were 1,923 people with Covid-19 in hospital.

Last week, the HSE said hospitals had started moving into their intensive care surge capacity as the number of Covid-19 patients requiring advanced care increased.

The system can surge to 350 patients in ICU, providing the same level of care as traditional intensive care settings, but it is now quickly approaching that number as the situation is likely to further deteriorate over the course of this week.

Here’s a closer look at our hospitals’ surge capacity.

With reporting by Gráinne Ní Aodha

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