A three-month agreement has been made for private hospitals to operate as public facilities.
19 hospitals with a capacity of under 2,000 beds with 47 intensive care units will be used by the HSE under the public private partnership with the Private Hospitals’ Association.
These include almost 1,000 single bed inpatient rooms, with 194 ventilators as well as nine laboratory services across the sites.
The private hospitals will be leased for use as public hospitals for an initial three-month period, with the possibility of an extension.
Patients with COVID-19, as well as those who do not have the virus, will be treated at the hospitals.
500 private hospital consultants will be offered locum contracts for public work.
However, the government says it can't confirm at the moment how much the partnership will cost.
Making the announcement, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “We’re in the middle of a national public health emergency, and we need to do all we can to increase the capacity of our hospitals so we can provide critical care to those who need it.
"It’s all hands on deck in this national effort, and I am very pleased that the private hospitals have agreed to come on board and make their facilities available.
"The public and private sectors are tooling up and working together for the common good.
“The Government will take all the necessary steps to increase our hospital capacity and it’s more important than ever for each and every one of us to do all we can in our own lives to flatten the curve, supress and stop the spread of the coronavirus. ”
Delighted we have secured an arrangement to use all private hospital capacity as part of our public health service during #Covid19 emergency. This means 2000 more beds, 101 more icu & hdu beds & 194 more venalitators plus theatres & lab capacity. A big agreement over the line! https://t.co/2E6a5NLNwb
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) March 30, 2020
Minister for Health Simon Harris said: "This is a national emergency and it requires a national effort.
"The owners and management of private hospitals have responded in the national interest and for the common purpose as part of the COVID-19 response.
"This additional capacity is vital for the health service as we navigate our way through this pandemic."