The HSE says it needs the equivalent of nearly five full-time nursing staff to open remaining beds in a Kerry community hospital.
Last month, the HSE was accused of having failed in its attempts to attract nurses to the West Kerry Community Hospital in Dingle.
Some beds in the facility are closed due to staffing concerns.
In response to Fine Gael TD and Deputy Government Chief Whip Brendan Griffin, the HSE said that as of December 20th last there were 34 long-stay residents and three people availing of short-stay beds for respite or other supports in the Dingle hospital.
The current bed capacity is 46.
Deputy Griffin, along with other public representatives, highlighted the case of a 96-year-old woman who had to leave the West Kerry hospital and move to Killarney late last year.
This was due to staffing shortages.
The HSE says it’s made extensive and prolonged efforts to recruit staff for the hospital, but staff recruitment can be extremely challenging.
It says there are 4.5 whole time equivalent (WTE) vacant nursing posts, along with a number of healthcare assistant positions, required to open the remaining beds.
The HSE adds that, in the meantime, it can only operate services safely according to current resources.