Health Minister pledges extra 300 hospital beds

Health Minister pledges extra 300 hospital beds

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has committed to opening an extra 300 hospital beds by the end of the year to try and tackle overcrowding in emergency departments.

Minister Varadkar held a meeting earlier with the Emergency Taskforce Implementation Group to discuss ways to alleviate the problem.

The Minister said that he will impose heavy fines on hospitals that fail to meet targets for cutting waiting lists.

However, Fergal Hickey, communications officer with the Irish Association of Emergency Medicine, said that hospitals are stretched across the board.

"We've this crazy situation where we don't have enough capacity in the system at the moment, and I think that's now finally accepted," he said.

"And at the same time the Government is now pushing for increasing numbers of scheduled care procedures to be done at the same time that we can't deal with the emergency workload.

"And that's just going to end in disaster."

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