Safety fears over hospital cuts
The HSE's announcement that it is to close 50 beds in the north-east region has led to fears about the effect of the cuts on patient safety.
In a cost-cutting measure, 24 beds are to close at Dundalk Hospital, 10 will close at Our Lady's in Navan, while 16 will be closed at the biggest hospital in the region, Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda.
Operating theatres are also to remain temporarily closed for longer periods in order to save money.
The local HSE will also cease completely the recruitment of agency staff from early December and it is also cutting overtime.
Health unions have expressed concern about the effect of the cuts on patient services and safety.
They have stressed that hospitals are already relying on agency staff and overtime to fill staffing gaps due to the recruitment ban, and say the cuts will worsen ED overcrowding and lengthen waiting lists.
The north-east cuts are likely to be repeated in other hospitals around the country in the coming weeks, as the HSE attempts to avoid a projected €500 million deficit at the end of the year.
[Posted: Tue 28/08/2012]