132 beds to close as HSE West budget is cut

The HSE West is set to see its budget cut by €104m, have nurses account for 70% of all regional retirees this month and witness as many as 132 long-term care beds axed, in a bid to cut costs.

The region’s 2012 local service plan, published yesterday evening , revealed the litany of measures to be implemented this year as a direct result of the country’s financial crisis.

According to the 77-page document, the budget for the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Dooradoyle, Limerick, will be cut from €138m to €123m.

The nearby maternity hospital’s budget will also be cut by €2m, from €15.7m to €13.64m.

The county’s primary, community and continuing care services will be reduced by more than €25m — from €170.69m to €145.49m.

Among the other cutbacks in a regional reduction of €104m — meaning health services from Limerick to Donegal have €1.78bn in funding — are those at the Galway University Hospitals group, down from €251m to €231m, and Tipperary primary care, down from €122m to €108m.

Of the 784 people retiring from the area at the end of this month, 70% are nurses.

In addition to the overall figure, regional director of operations, John Hennessy, has confirmed that an extra 169 people will also have to leave the system.

Nursing homes in Galway, Sligo and Clare will see double figure bed closures.

The 20-bed Lifford nursing home in Donegal and the 15-bed St Francis facility in Galway are both set to shut completely this summer.

The document has also confirmed that the Fair Deal scheme funding will be capped at 2,000 people with the “risk that the resources available may not be adequate”.

This scheme’s annual budget ran out of money nationally less than halfway through last year.

While Health Minister James Reilly has argued the Fair Deal concerns will be less apparent this year, because older people will be encouraged to use home help care instead of nursing home beds, home help care hours are being significantly reduced.

An exact hospital-by-hospital breakdown is due to be made available to unions at the end of this month.

The cutbacks come after similar scenarios were outlined for the HSE South last Thursday, Feb 9, and for the HSE North East this Wednesday, Feb 15.

The final regional service plan, for the HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster area, is due to be made public at the end of next week.

* An online version of all local service plans to date can be viewed online by logging onto www.hse.ie.

* FOCionnaith.direct@examiner.ie

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