Consultant Paul Burke, who is in charge of the centralisation of all major emergency department &services to Limerick from Nenagh and Ennis in a letter to Mr Noonan, outlined ongoing difficulties at the Mid-Western Regional.
He stated: “Our only options to reduce spending are to reduce elective surgical activity, close operating theatres, reduce drug costs and possibly close beds.”
Mr Noonan said he had received a letter from Dr Burke, but those running hospitals were aware of what the budgets set out by his predecessor, Brian Lenihan, were.
Mr Noonan told the Limerick Leader: “There is an allocation made within the HSE. They have to live within those budgets and there is no departing from that.”
Mr Noonan said the government was prepared to listen to cases being made by individual hospitals as long as they did not incur additional costs.
He said: “The message I’d like to give out is that there is no extra money to go into the budgets.”
Already this year, budget restrictions have led to the closure of 13 beds and one of the two operating theatres at the Mid-Western Regional Orthopaedic Hospital in Croom, resulting in over 400 surgical procedures being delayed.
Dr Burke’s warning is the second issued by consultant about the critical situation at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital.
In an earlier statement, Dr Alexander Fraser complained that the resources promised by the Fianna Fáil-Green coalition government for the centralisation programme to Limerick, had not been forthcoming.
This he said led to chronic overcrowding in the Mid-Western Regional and the curtailment of elective surgery.