Cutbacks in western region 'most severe'
CUTBACKS are taking place in the HSE's three other areas, HSE Mid-Leinster, HSE Dublin/North East, and HSE South. But they are nowhere near the scale needed in the HSE West region.
The HSE said the financial shortfall in HSE West was easily the worst in the country.
As a result, the HSE commissioned independent engineering and management consultants Mott and MacDonald, which has offices in Dublin and Cork, to assess cost-reduction strategies in the HSE West region.
Despite being cash-strapped, the HSE sought outside expertise to carry out the review. It was unable to say how much the independent report cost last night but it is certain to be at least a five-figure sum.
The consultants looked at six sites in the HSE West area with the highest estimated financial deficits. They were: University College Hospital, Mayo General Hospital, Sligo General Hospital, Letterkenny General Hospital, Portiuncula Acute Hospital, and the Local head office in Galway.
However, sources said the two hospitals that were being most closely examined for either closure or a scaling back of operations were Roscommon County Hospital and Portiuncula in Ballinasloe, Co Galway,
The report says that any closure of a hospital would mean the transfer of beds and redeployment of permanent staff to another site.