Beaumont Hospital announced on 5th May 2010 that it would close 52 beds to stay within budget. 33 beds in a day ward will close at the end of this week, with a further 19 to close over the next two weeks.
It is really depressing that as soon as 50 patients from acute wards find nursing homes, those same beds are closed down for other patients. The whole idea of finding more appropriate places for those people who are delayed in acute beds is to make these beds available, not to close them down
It is not acceptable that front line services are the first to be hit in when money has to be saved. Why are savings not being found in the huge administrative structures that grew up in recent years. Fine Gael has a radical plan to save money and reform the healthcare system:
• We will then introduce a “money-follows-the-patient” budgeting system so that hospitals are paid for how many patients they treat. Patients will no longer be seen as “costs” to the health service, but as sources of “income”.
• We will deliver Universal Health Insurance where every man, woman and child will be insured, some fully subsidised, some partially subsidised by the Government
Under the Fine Gael model, closing wards would be the hospital’s last option, because it would cost the hospital money to close a ward, while savings would have to come from stripping away the big bureaucracies created by the HSE. This would reduce waiting times for operations and cut queues at A & E.
This Fine Gael model is based on the Dutch health system which ranked number 1 in Europe for Quality and number 2 for Value for Money. By contrast, Ireland was ranked number 15 for Quality and number 24 for Value for Money.