Beaumont hospital to close 52 beds
Beaumont hospital has said it is to close 52 beds within the next two weeks due to budgetary reasons.
In a statement issued this afternoon, the hospital said the Jervis five-day ward, which holds 33 beds, is being closed at the end of this week while a further 19 beds will be closed in the hospital in about two weeks time.
The hospital said the decision means there will be reductions in designated beds for all specialities, with the exceptions of neurosurgery, transplantation and cancer services.
However, it added that reconfiguration of beds within a number of other wards will be designed to minimise the impact on patient services.
The hospital said the decision to close the beds had been taken as part of a plan to address a shortfall of €19 million between the total funding requirement of €260 million and this year's allocation of €241 million.
Beaumont said that since the introduction of the Fair Deal nursing home scheme, it had freed up at least 50 out of 140 acute beds that had been occupied by long-stay patients and these would help offset the closures.
It forecast the number of long-stay patients at Beaumont would decline further in coming months with the opening of a new 100 bed unit for patients in St.Joseph's Hospital in Raheny.
Fine Gael Health spokesperson Dr James Reilly condemned the closure of the beds, saying it was "the ultimate indictment of the Health Minister’s failed policy on hospital budgets."
“How can it make sense to close down 52 beds in a hospital that had an average of 42 patients on trolleys in A&E each day in April?," he asked.
“It is really depressing that the first thing that happens after 50 patients from acute beds are found nursing home care is that beds are closed down for other patients. The whole idea of finding more appropriate places for those people who are delayed in acute beds is to make these beds available, not to close them down," he added.