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Report warns of Irish beds crisis


22 January, 2008  

Around four billion euro (£2.97bn) will have to be invested in the Republic of Ireland’s hospital system to fund 20,000 new beds if current shortages are to be solved, a new report claims.

The report by PA Consulting said the cash will be needed over the next 12 years, unless the focus moves towards community-based care.

It added that the Health Service Executive must turn to outpatient units and day care, rather than rely on in-patient treatments.

If the current model of care is maintained as the population gets older, the number of acute beds will have to rise by 40%, from around 12,000 to 20,000, the study claims.

Health Service Executive (HSE) chief Professor Brendan Drumm backed the findings, and said the idea that more beds equals better care has to be scrapped.

“To develop a world class health system, we have to replace outdated practices with modern ways of doing things that reflect the needs of patients,” he added.

The Irish Medical Organisation welcomed the report, and Dr Sean Tierney, chairman of the Consultant Committee, said: “In many hospitals, the IMO is aware of cases where patients have been ‘clinically discharged’.

“However, due to the lack of community based services and home care packages, they cannot be physically discharged as they have nowhere to go.”

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