The HSE has said that the closure of 16 beds at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Mullingar is a routine procedure during the summer months. In a statement, it said that the demand for services reduces over the summer period “where patients take summer holidays and hospitals historically effect bed closures during that period”.
However Sinn Fein spokesperson for Longford/Westmeath, Councillor Paul Hogan, has reacted angrily to the news saying “this is yet another example of this Fianna Fáil led Government attacking the most vulnerable in society”.
“I predict that there are hundreds of patients in Longford/Westmeath waiting for operations in our hospitals. In recent times, we have witnessed people lying on trolleys in hospital corridors, the length and breadth of this country. The latest number of confirmed cases of Swine Flu in this State is 164, yet there isn’t an adequate plan containing resources and funding in place for vaccinations. The fact is that no hospital can afford the closure of any bed,” added Cllr Hogan.
According to the HSE, “The Midland Regional Hospital at Mullingar has exceeded its service plan targets up to the end of May 2009. A total of 10,998 day cases and in-patient procedures have been carried out at the hospital, compared to 10,903 for the same period last year.
“On an ongoing basis hospitals are considering alternative strategies that support efficiency while guaranteeing emergencies.
As part of that strategy it is planned to close a ward with a net reduction of 16 beds over the holiday period. This will be reviewed at the end of the summer.
“The HSE wish to emphasise that all patients needing treatment will be treated. The HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster will continue to monitor performance against budget and service plan on a month by month basis and make decisions accordingly based on these assessments.”