Beacon Hospital expected to sign up to revised HSE deal to provide beds for Covid surge

Hospital CEO Michael Cullen defended the hospital's decision to be the only one of Ireland's 18 private hospitals not to sign up to the deal.
Beacon Hospital expected to sign up to revised HSE deal to provide beds for Covid surge

The hospital remained 70% empty during the last Covid-19 surge, the hospital's chief executive said. File Picture: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie

The Beacon Hospital is expected to sign a revised agreement with the HSE to provide beds for public use.

It comes in the wake of sustained criticism of the private facility, which was the only one of Ireland's 18 private hospitals not to sign up to a 'safety net' deal which would allow the HSE access private beds in the case of Covid-19 surges.

HSE chief Paul Reid appealed to the Beacon to rethink its decision, describing it as "beyond belief and comprehension".

Michael Cullen, CEO of the Beacon Hospital, defended the hospital’s decision not to sign an agreement with the HSE for providing facilities during the pandemic.

The hospital had taken its position because of their experience during the previous surge last year at which time the hospital ended up being 70% empty, he said, when normally they would operate at over 90% capacity.

The issue had never been about money, he told RTÉ radio. It was about the fact they had a system that was geared to operate at full capacity, but they were able to treat only 30% of the patients they normally would.

He said:

A huge number of patients did not get treated who should have been treated during that time.

The issue was the hospital's need to have operational control, he said.

A new agreement from the HSE had been received by the hospital on Sunday night which went “a long way” towards addressing the concerns, he said, and there was a desire to sign up to a deal.

When asked if the hospital had spare capacity at present, Mr Cullen said their ICU was at 50%, but would be at full capacity later on Monday as there were significant public patient surgeries scheduled.

The hospital was providing “significant capacity” to the public system through surgeries, diagnostics and intensive care, said Mr Cullen, which was why he was “disappointed” in comments by Paul Reid.

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