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A&E facilities to be cut in Ireland

Health chiefs are to review accident and emergency services in the Irish Republic after groups raised concerns over the Health Service Executive’s (HSE) plan for 2009, which is expected to slash A&E facilities in Cork and Dublin.

The 12-month plan revealed the HSE aims to make at least 520 million euro in savings throughout the year, including cutting costs in Dublin’s three children’s hospitals.

The Irish Patients’ Association (IPA) said its main concerns was the proposed reconfiguration of A&E and paediatric services.

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) said while 24-hour accident and emergency services can not be provided at every hospital, replacement services must be as good as those that currently exist.

Donal Duffy, of IHCA said: “What we are concerned about is that the ambulance service would be adequately resourced to drive to more distant locations.”

Health minister Mary Harney has defended the reconfiguration of accident and emergency services, which she claimed were overstaffed saying: “In some cases we have more staff than patients.”

The HSE said savings will be made by knocking 3% off management and administrative payroll costs. It also recommends more day procedures, reducing the length of hospital stays, and setting a 6% target for reductions in hospital infections.

Copyright Press Association 2008