Up to 12 smaller Irish hospitals would reportedly be unable to provide comprehensive acute care following the implementation of the Hanly Report.
Reports this morning said a Department of Health discussion paper had indicated that, under the Hanly reforms, 10 to 12 hospitals would not have the staffing levels required to provide such care.
The Hanly Report has already provoked outrage by calling for the downgrading of some local hospitals in favour of the upgrading of new regional networks.
This morning's reports said the discussion paper on implementing the report outlined how the National Hospitals Office would have to identify the hospitals that will form part of these networks.
The NHO will also have to clarify the future role of the 10 to 12 hospitals that will be unable to provide acute care.