Local hospital group faces €24m shortfall

The West North West Hospitals Group is facing an expected budget deficit of €24.3 million by the end of this year.

The group comprises Galway University Hospitals (UHG and Merlin Park ), Portiuncula, Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo and Letterkenny hospitals.

A meeting of the HSE West’s regional health forum was told recently that significant reductions in spending had been achieved in the period up to the end of August. Nursing agency costs had been reduced by €0.6m while overtime costs had been slashed by €1.17m.

The outstanding debt from private health insurance companies due to the failure of some consultants to sign off promptly on such claims was €10.6m.

The reduction in the number of patients with private health insurance had hit hospital incomes, the meeting heard. The fact that the majority of single room accommodation at UHG was used to isolate patients for infection control purposes created another financial challenge as they could not be used to accommodate private patients.

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