20. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the reason for the 115% increase in overcrowding in Naas hospital in January 2018 relative to January 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6437/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Tackling overcrowding in Emergency Departments (EDs) is a key commitment of the Government. Accordingly, €30 million in additional funding was provided in 2017, and a further €40 million is being made available in 2018, to manage the expected peak in demand for our health services over the winter period and to strengthen capacity moving forward. Since the start of winter, 170 additional beds have opened nationally, including eleven beds in Naas General Hospital.

I am advised by the HSE that Naas General Hospital is currently working with the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group to address the high level of overcrowding being experienced in the ED this month, which is due in part to increased incidence of respiratory illnesses. According to HSE reports, the hospital has seen a considerable increase in attendances and admissions by patients over 75 years, and an increase in the high acuity of patients being triaged in the ED.