Long-stay beds not up to scratch
Health Minister James Reilly has confirmed that there will be a 'reconfiguration' of community nursing units.
He was speaking to the Oireachtas Health Committee following reports that the Government is planning to close down hundreds of long-stay beds.
HSE CEO Cathal Magee told the Committee that the viability of long-stay nursing home care was being impacted by staff shortages resulting from the recruitment moratorium and the employment control framework in the HSE.
He said staff resourcing issues were driving the consolidation of community nursing units providing long-term care.
Mr Magee said only 30% of public long stay beds are deemed to meet minimum standards and the remainder would require significant capital investment.
Commenting on what was said at the Oireachtas Committee today, Nursing Homes Ireland said it highlighted the requirement there is upon the Government to put in place a comprehensive plan to meet the increased demand for long-term residential care.
On state drug costs, Mr Magee told the Committee €200 million would be saved this year and discussions would start shortly with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry to negotiate further reductions in drug costs.
Mr Magee said there had been a reduction of 8,706 in the numbers employed by the hSE since staff numbers peaked in the health system in September 2007.
He said emergency admissions to hospitals around the country had increased by nearly 2% this year.
Mr Magee said new systems were being introduced to reduce reliance on hospital beds.
He said said the opening of a new acute medicine unit at Cork University Hospital led by consultant staff had resulted in 25% of patients who would previously have required a longer stay in a hospital bed being able to go home within 24 hours of being treated.
Meanwhile, Dr Reilly announced today that he has asked his Special Delivery Unit to undertake a performance diagnostic analysis of Galway University Hospital in the near future.
A performance diagnostic analysis looks at the strengths and weaknesses of a hospital identifying areas of good performance and looking at the root causes of underperformance, if identified.
The SDU will then make specific recommendations on how performance can be improved, the Minister said. Galway University Hospital currently has a €12 million deficit.
[Posted: Thu 24/11/2011]