The Irish Annual ICU Audit annual report for 2021 has found that given the intensity of the pandemic at that time, Covid-19 patients accounted for 29% of all intensive care unit occupied beds that year.
Ireland lags behind the rest of the EU and OECD countries, with six beds per 100,000 population. The OECD average is 12. The annual audit reports on care of patients in adult Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and focuses attention on activity in these units, the complexity of care provided and the resource requirements and areas for improvement.
Clinical Lead of the Irish National ICU Audit Report for 2021 Professor Rory Dwyer said units were under a lot of pressure at the time, and the surge in the need for beds was dealt with by using beds throughout hospitals.
The system coped, he said, adding that Ireland's health system did not run out of beds during the pandemic. "ICU beds had been tight beforehand and then this surge in Covid patients was accommodated by a temporary increase in ICU beds by diverting a lot of resources to ICU from other areas of the hospital. "There was a decrease in major surgery, which made some capacity and somehow the system coped. "We came very close to not having enough beds for our needs but didn't reach that point.