Like winter, health service plans come and go. The question is will this new Winter Plan help cure some of the service ills?

While the extra €600m looks significant, the Irish Medical Organisation said it was emergency funding to just get services through the winter and that it does not deal with the fundamentals.

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association said there was no clear allocation of funding to hire additional hospital consultants and other frontline professionals. 

It pointed to the fact that two-thirds of the €600m will not be deployed until 2021. 

The number of extra acute hospital beds may be short of what some people expected. There are 483 more acute beds plus 17 more critical care beds.

Of the 483 acute beds, 251 are to come on stream this year.

In addition 89 sub-acute beds are to be put in place this year. These are slightly higher level step-down beds in certain hospitals.

While a significant number of extra staff are promised - 10,360 spread over this year and next - there is a caveat. The recruitment of around 7,500 of these is subject to the approval process under the health estimates talks for the forthcoming Budget.

The target to cut trolley waits in emergency departments will be closely watched. Overcrowding is a familiar symptom of capacity problems in the service.

While the commitment to do 20,000 more planned operations will be welcomed, waiting lists are at record levels and Covid-19 is affecting the overall capacity of the system.

To help keep patients out of hospital, the number of Community Assessment Hubs is to be increased from the current seven to 20.

It has been said that this winter will be like no other. So it needs a plan to deliver like no other has done before.

This plan operates up to next April so many measures are spread out.

We won't have a full picture as to its success or otherwise until then.