No new acute beds will be opened in the Mid-West Region in 2023, according to figures released to Independent Clare TD Michael McNamara.
In response to Deputy McNamara’s Parliamentary Question, the HSE’s Acute Operations department says none of the six hospitals in the UL Hospitals Group will receive any of the 209 acute beds scheduled to be opened this year subject to staffing and completion of some capital works.
“One year on from the news that no new acute beds would be opened within the UL Hospitals Group in 2022, we learn that the Mid West is once again is missing from the list of regions to benefit from such investment in 2023,” stated Deputy McNamara.
He continued, “This follows on from the revelation that just 7 full-time positions were created at UHL, the most overcrowded hospital in the State for the past 7 years, and only 61 fulltime positions were filled in the UL Hospitals Group in 2022, the smallest increase in any region of the State, it’s clear that the chronic underinvestment in acute services in the Mid-West will continue through 2023. The fact that the UL Hospitals Group is the only group in the country not to benefit from new acute beds is an affront to the people of Clare, Limerick, and North Tipperary.”
The 209 new acute beds targeted to open in 2023 will be located in Mallow General Hospital (20) and South Tipperary General Hospital (28) (South/South West Hospital Group); Portiuncula University Hospital (12) and Letterkenny University Hospital (3) (Saolta University Health Care Group); Monaghan/Cavan General Hospital (2) (RCSI Hospitals Group); Mater University Hospital (96) and National Rehabilitation Hospital (6) (Ireland East Hospital Group); St James Hospital (12), Midlands Regional Hospital Tullamore (8) and Naas General Hospital (12) (Dublin Midlands Hospital Group); and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin (10) (Children’s Health Ireland).
Deputy McNamara admitted that while the provision of additional bed capacity on its own will not resolve the overcrowding problems at University Hospital Limerick (UHL), the delivery of new acute, beds “should certainly be part of the solution.”
Meanwhile, Deputy McNamara said that he has requested Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to include Ennis Hospital on his itinerary during his visit to the region tomorrow (Friday) when he is scheduled to visit UHL and meet separately with representatives of the Mid-West Hospital Campaign.
“It is necessary that the Taoiseach visits our Model 2 Hospitals to get a better understanding of their underutilisation and their capacity to contribute to reducing overcrowding at UHL. The people of the Mid-west cannot afford another year of negligible investment in healthcare services in this region, which will result in a repeat of dangerous levels of overcrowding next winter.
“Increasing bed capacity and expanding services at our Model 2 hospitals, while not a panacea, must be part of the solution as failure to do so will lead to a continuation of crippling overcrowding at Dooradoyle and even longer waiting lists” concluded Deputy McNamara.