Thursday, 8 November 2012

Questions (13)

Seán Fleming

Question:

13. Deputy Sean Fleming asked 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. [48927/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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 in the table 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. Contained in the table are the inpatients closures broken down under the various headings.

Overall numbers

In-patient Total 759

Day bed Total 11

Total Bed Closures 770

Profile of Inpatient bed closures Reason Summary

Infection Control 23

Cost Containment 585

Refurbishment/Maintenance 55

Seasonal Closures 6

Other 90

Bed Type Summary

Surgical 253

Medical 339

Critical Care 15

Oncology 2

Not designated to a particular specialty 101

Psychiatry 49

Network Group Summary

Dublin Mid Leinster Region 196

Dublin North East Region 178

South Region 204

West Region 103

Galway Hospital Region 52

Mid West Hospital Region 26