Critical Care Capacity expansion and COVID 19

Tuesday, 23 February, 2021

The critical care representative organisations (ICSI/JFICMI/CCP/CAI/AAGBI and IACCN) have been  highlighting with Government the dearth of critical care bed capacity in Ireland – 6/100,000 population versus the European average of 11.5/100,000  plus the corresponding shortage of trained staff, mainly doctors and nurses.  This and public opinion appears to be bearing fruit and Dr Michael Power of the HSE’s Critical Care Programme reported to the Board that 66 new critical care beds are planned immediately (funded) with an ultimate ambition to expand the complement by 177 beds culminating in a total of 428 beds, if fully funded.  Other improvements planned are new critical care Advanced Nurse Practitioners (28), new educators and facilitators and new Consultants, Fellows, Nurses and paramedics for the Critical Care Transport service, the utilisation of which has recently quadrupled – see graph of January 2021 relative to January 2020


Dr Brian Marsh, while reporting on discussions with the NDTP (National Doctors Training and Planning, HSE) and on the Intensive Care Workforce planning report, noted that there is an increase in the trainee doctors entering ICM,  both at JFICMI level and with the launch of the Specialist Anaesthesia Trainee (SAT) Year 7 programme (in effect replacing SIY year).  For 2021, the JFICMI has made appointments to the 6 HSE Acute Hospital critical care NCHD posts, a funding initiative arising from the COVID-19 pressures. The JFICMI, working with the NDTP, has submitted a business plan to the HSE to sustain these posts with recurring funding and to develop the training numbers required to meet the consultant demand of the recently published workforce planning report.