Poor performance costs hospitals dear as 2010 budgets slashed by €14m

ALMOST €14 million will be slashed off the budgets of 18 hospitals in 2010 as a result of inefficiencies last year.

The biggest loser – for the third year in a row – is Tallaght Hospital in Dublin, which faces a budget cut of €2.64m, followed by Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, which will lose €1.8m. The Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore faces a reduction of €1.7m in its 2010 budget.

All the major Dublin hospitals, except the Mater, the Rotunda Maternity and Crumlin Children’s Hospital, will see their budgets cut. They include Beaumont (down €22,010), St Vincent’s (down €37,581), Connolly (down €156,148), Temple St Children’s Hospital (down €409,448), Holles Street and the Coombe maternity hospitals (down €227,411 and €282,291 respectively) and St Columcille’s in Loughlinstown (down €1.3m).

Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick will also lose more than €1m.

Despite massive resource difficulties at Crumlin last year, the hospital was rewarded for efficiencies and will receive an additional €400,000 this year.

In Cork and Kerry, Cork University Hospital (CUH), the Mercy University Hospital, the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital, Mallow General Hospital and Kerry General will all see their budgets adjusted upwards.

Of these, CUH will see the biggest upward adjustment of almost €1m despite being labelled “unsatisfactory” and “requiring urgent attention” last September by the Health Service Executive’s (HSE) performance measurement programme, HealthStat.

Ger Reaney, interim hospital network manager for the HSE South, said additional monies yielded from casemix will be used by the individual hospitals to invest in equipment and services for patients.

Tallaght Hospital has performed poorly under the casemix system for the past number of years.

A spokesperson yesterday said the results were based on its performance in 2008 and since then, Tallaght “has conducted a review and implemented a number of changes, which should lead to a better performance rating for the hospital”.

The best performing hospital was the Midlands Regional in Mullingar, and it will receive €2.4m in additional monies in 2010, an upward trend it has maintained since 1994.

Casemix works by measuring the performance of a hospital in terms of the number of patients treated and the costs of that treatment and comparing it with the performance of other hospitals.

It then reallocates funding from hospitals that fail to meet the target for the number of patients treated to those hospitals that surpass their target levels.

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