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Mater to close beds
[Posted: Thu 03/06/2010 www.irishhealth.com]
Around 80 beds are to be closed at Dublin's Mater Hospital this year.
About 60 beds are to be closed at the hospital this month and a further 20 may be closed later this year, it has been confirmed.
This follows the recent announcement of the closure of 52 beds at Dublin's Beaumont Hospital.
The HSE said funding for hospitals in the region had been reduced by approximately €65.2 million this year, according to a report in the Irish Times.
The health executive said hospitals have included bed closures as part of their breakeven plans for this year.
The HSE has said bed reductions may be offset by the freeing up of "delayed discharge" beds in hospitals as the Fair Deal nursing home funding scheme is rolled out.
The HSE says the number of delayed discharge patients is beginning to drop.
The HSE is planning to close 1,100 beds around the country this year and is planning to implement a major cutback in hospital admissions.
It says this cutback will be offset by Fair Deal, in addition to increased day care activity in hospitals, better access to diagnostic tests, more patients being treated in primary care and a new system for dealing with serious chronic illness aimed at keeping people out of hospital where possible.
The latter system, involving the establishment of improved treatment pathways between hospitals and primary care, is expected to be unveiled shortly by the HSE.
Critics of the HSE policy, however, have queried whether the alternatives to hospital care will be implemented quickly enough or comprehensively enough to offset the massive planned bed closures and continuing pressure on hospital beds.
The number of patients on emergency department trolleys awaiting admisisons is still around the 300 mark. Traditionally, these numbers drop to below this during the summer
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