Hospital overcrowding: 700 nursing home beds available

There are over 700 beds available if the HSE wants to discharge elderly patients from acute hospitals into nursing home beds.

Nursing Homes Ireland said these beds are available in up to 176 homes and that 190 more homes could have available places.

The NHI CEO, Tadhg Daly, said: “The nursing home sector has a key role to play in alleviating the current overcrowding crisis within our acute hospitals. Only last week, Minister for Health Simon Harris heralded 436 patients classified as delayed discharged in acute hospitals as being a new low and representing huge progress.

“While the HSE has substantially reduced numbers, there must be a concerted focus to ensure the hundreds who remain within hospitals can access beds within local nursing homes.”

Meanwhile, the Irish Medical Organisation and the National Association of General Practitioners have welcomed calls by the HSE’s Tony O’Brien for “a fundamental shift to GP-led primary care”.

“There has been much discussion about this change, but there has been no investment in general practice. In fact, funding has been taken out and the profession is in crisis,” said NAGP chief Chris Goodey.

Latest figures from the Irish Medical Council state that there are 63.1 GPs per 100,000 population, falling well below international standards of 80 GPs per 100,000.

And furthermore, according to the NAGP, 915 GPs are poised to emigrate or retire in the next five years.

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