More hospital bed closures are likely, as the HSE tries to deal with a €250m overspend for 2012.
That's the message today, after the Executive announced the closure of 50 hospital beds in the North East last night.
24 beds will go in the Louth County Hospital in Dundalk, while 10 will shut in Our Lady's Hospital in Navan.
Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda will also be hit with the temporary closure of 16 beds.
In a further move to cut costs the use of agency staff will be stopped from December 1.
Agency costs rose by 15% last year to €176m.