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icu fears Deal struck with private hospitals to expand capacity as Covid cases surge

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Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced a deal has been struck with 16 private hospitals who will make available 30pc of their overall capacity. (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced a deal has been struck with 16 private hospitals who will make available 30pc of their overall capacity. (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced a deal has been struck with 16 private hospitals who will make available 30pc of their overall capacity. (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Private hospitals will supply up to 30pc of their capacity to the Department of Health in a new deal announced by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly this evening.

Minister Donnelly confirmed that 16 private hospitals have signed up to the 12-month deal with the aim of taking pressure off an already struggling health service as Covid-19 cases surge.

There are currently 1,180 patients in Irish hospitals with Covid-19 this evening with 109 in ICU, while 116 people were hospitalised in the last 24 hours.

On Thursday evening, it was reported that there were only 22 adult ICU beds unoccupied in the health service, with hospitalisations and ICU admissions expected to grow rapidly in the coming weeks as a record 8,248 cases were confirmed today.

Minister Donnelly said there is further leeway to increase capacity even more if the need arises as the third wave of the pandemic reaches its peak of hospitalisations.

Minister Donnelly said: “I am keenly aware of the excellent local relationships that already exist between public and private hospitals and know that a number of the private hospitals have already begun to make arrangements to take on public patients over the coming days.”

“The additional capacity created by this agreement is critical to enabling the public health system cope with large scale surges in the incidences of the disease.”

“I would like to thank the private hospitals for their support in the national effort to deal with the current surge in the pandemic. I would also like to thank the VHI, which, at the HSE’s request has agreed to administer the scheme for public patients,” the Minister said.

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