Beaumont beds crisis leaves 1,400 facing wait
BED closures at Dublin's Beaumont Hospital along with reduced theatre capacity will affect up to 1,400 patients awaiting procedures.
This is according to the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA), which said that it believed that the hospital will make "negligible savings" from the measures.
Assistant Secretary General Donal Duffy said that the closures will mean that "the hospital will make negligible savings whilst up to 1,400 patients will have their treatment delayed this year."
A further 19 beds are set to close at Beaumont within two weeks, bringing to a total of 52 the number of beds that are set to close at the hospital. It follows the closure of 33 beds in the Jervis five-day ward.
Beaumont has said that the closures are part of a number of measures being implemented to offset a €19m cut in the hospital's funding this year.
Beaumont is but one of a number of hospitals nationally reducing capacity in an effort to stay within budget so that it can continue to pay staff and suppliers this year.
Earlier this month, Beaumont confirmed that it was closing some beds this month. It said that there would be reductions in designated beds for all specialities, with the exceptions of neurosurgery, transplantation and cancer services.
It confirmed there would also be the closure of one theatre a week, on a rolling basis, out of the existing complement of 11 theatres. "Here, too, every effort will be made to improve use of existing capacity to minimise the impact on patient services," it said.
The hospital said that the new Nursing Home Subvention Scheme introduced at the end of last year had reduced the number of acute beds occupied by long-stay patients from over 140 last November to 90 now.
This means that at least 50 acute beds which had not been available for the treatment of new admissions have become available, offsetting the reduction in beds now being announced.
Furthermore, it said the number of long-stay patients will decline further in coming months with the opening of a new 100-bed long-stay unit in St Joseph's Hospital in Raheny, a part of Beaumont Hospital.
Beaumont said it was doing everything possible to minimise the impact of these cuts on patients. It said that priority was being given to a range of measures designed to improve how the available beds are used.