Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has said it is clear that with just seven weeks left in the year Minister Reilly will fail to bring the health budget in on target “without drastic cuts to community and frontline services or massaging the figures to hide his complete mismanagement.”

“With the crisis in the health budget deepening every week Minister Reilly has managed to save a paltry €5m, leaving the projected overrun for this year at €399m.  This comes at a time when the Minister has confirmed to Fianna Fáil that the number of acute beds closed last month amounts to the closure of an entire major acute hospital in Dublin.

“770 Beds were closed nationwide in acute hospitals at end of October.  When you consider that Beaumont Hospital has 706 beds, 646 of which are in-patient beds, the full implications of Reilly’s leadership become clear.  This assault on frontline services is necessary because of the woefully inaccurate and inadequate budget presented by Minister Reilly last year. (See PQ below)

“I expect Minister Reilly will move to shore-up his budget failings by moving unspent money from his Department’s capital allocation to current spending.  Also, there is already €125m committed from private health insurers’ to be factored in.  This will help the Ministers’ budget look a little less disastrous but it does nothing for the elderly and vulnerable in need of home help hours and community services that will continue to be cut into next year to pay for the failure of Minister Reilly to manage his budget and department properly.”


Please see below the hospitals with the most serious budget overruns at the end of September

Hospital Overspend % Overspend
Beaumont Hospital €21.5m 13.10%
Midwestern Regional Hospital  €19.1m 18.50%
Galway University Hospitals  €15.96m 8.70%
Mater University Hospital  €13.02m 8.60%
Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital  €12.46m 14.70%


DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Dr. James Reilly) by Deputy Sean Fleming for ORAL ANSWER on 08/11/2012  

 To ask the Minister for Health the total number of bed closures in acute hospitals in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

                                                                                          Sean Fleming T.D.


I believe we must concentrate on getting the best possible services for patients from the budgets available to us. This means we need to focus on how beds are used, on the throughput of patients, on reducing length of stay to international norms and on having as many procedures as possible carried out as day cases rather than inpatient work.

The work of the Special Delivery Unit, together with implementation of the Clinical Care Programmes in the HSE, will help to improve the efficiency of our hospitals, allowing us to treat as many patients as possible within budget. I believe that pursuing efficiencies through these means will be a far more productive approach than debating the number of beds open or closed at any one time.

In the current economic climate the acute sector must reduce its costs in order to deliver the agreed level of activity within the resources available to it. The emphasis in 2012 will continue to be to make the most effective use of acute bed capacity through shorter lengths of stay, increased rates of day-of-surgery admission and more day surgery. For example, the implementation of the HSE’s Acute Medicine Clinical Care Programme has saved 121,000 bed days to date this year. In this way the acute hospital system can ensure that, within the level of resources available, it provides safe, effective and efficient care to the maximum number of patients.

Throughout 2012 hospitals will open and close beds on various wards in order to deliver the planned level of activity. These beds may be closed for a number of reasons, including cost containment, infection control and refurbishment. It is not possible at this time to determine what beds in which wards will be closed and what length of time they will be closed for. The decision to open and close beds is made at hospital management level and approved by the Regional Director of Operations.

Please find attached the latest data in relation to bed closures for the week ending 28th October 2012.  There are 759 inpatient beds closed and an additional 11 day case beds. Attached below are the inpatients closures broken down under the various headings. 

Overall numbers Profile of Inpatient bed closures Reason Summary 
In-patient Total     759 Infection Control     23
Day bed Total    11 Cost Containment     585
Total Bed Closures  770 Refurbishment / Maintenance 55
Seasonal Closures     6
Other    90
Bed Type Summary Network Group Summary 
Surgical    253 Dublin Mid Leinster Region    196 
Medical   339 Dublin North East Region     178
Critical Care    15 South Region     204
Oncology    2 West Region     103
Not designated to a particular speciality    101 Galway Hospital Region     52
Psychiatry     49 Mid West Hospital Region    26