The Health Service Executive has said that hospital services will be reintroduced, on a phased basis, over the coming months, due to Covid-19.

It said that hospitals have been rearranging services to take account of all infection control and social distancing measures.

The HSE said this will affect how treatment and appointments are delivered and "will see the re-introduction of hospital services on a phased basis over the coming months".

It said it has committed to publishing a strategic framework document, outlining its overall approach and phased resumption of services, taking into account the Covid-19 environment in which services will need to work. 

It will affect how services are delivered, as well as service capacity. 

The HSE said the framework document will guide hospitals and community services, in developing their own local individual plans, on how services can resume, in the months ahead.


Read: Latest coronavirus stories


Meanwhile three hospitals - St Vincent's in Dublin, Cavan and Mullingar - are listed as having no vacant general beds or critical care beds free, according to the latest HSE acute hospital operational report on Covid-19.

There are nine hospitals with no vacant general beds for patients, while seven have no critical care beds free.

The figures indicate how some hospitals are now busier with non-Covid-19 patients, as the health system readjusts to fewer coronavirus cases and resumes more general care.

The public hospital system now has 454 vacant general beds.

It compares with mid-April, when it had around 2,200 general beds free after ceasing non-urgent admissions, discharging patients and preparing for a surge in coronavirus cases.

The system also had capacity at 19 private hospitals, but that deal ceases at the end of this month.

The nine hospitals listed as having no vacant general beds are St Vincent's, Tallaght (adult & children’s), Cavan, Wexford, Kilkenny, Navan, Mullingar, Portlaoise and Naas.

In comparison, St James's in Dublin has 110 vacant general beds, the Mater in Dublin has 68 and Sligo has 42.

The seven hospitals listed with no critical care beds free are St Vincent’s, the Mater, Connolly, Cavan, Mullingar, University Hospital Waterford and South Tipperary General.

There are 102 critical care beds free for the country. 

The HSE report shows that while there are 436 intensive care beds in the hospital system, 363 are open and staffed now, with 251 of these are occupied.

Around the peak of the crisis more than 500 critical care beds were listed in hospitals.

The latest HSE figures show that, overnight, there were 41 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in hospitals, plus 173 suspected cases, waiting for test results.

This includes 16 patients in intensive care units with Covid-19 and nine suspected cases.

The incidence of Covid-19 is said to be at a low level in public hospitals in the west and northwest with "very little activity" in intensive care units at present, according to the Saolta group.

It manages hospitals in Galway, Castlebar, Roscommon, Sligo, Letterkenny and Ballinasloe.

For Covid-19, the World Health Organization says that data to date suggests that 80% of infections are mild or asymptomatic; 15% are severe infection, requiring oxygen and 5% are critical, requiring ventilation.

Additional reporting Pat McGrath