Friday 24 January 2020

More hospital beds to ease pressure as flu season hits

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Hospitals are to open up 200 more beds and the cost of attending a minor injury unit is to come down €25 to €75 in new measures to ease the trolley crisis.

It comes as cases of flu are set to increase further in the coming weeks, putting more pressure on wards and isolation facilities.

Health Minister Simon Harris will sign a statutory instrument to cut the minor injury unit fee this week in a bid to divert patients with injuries and non-emergency conditions away from A&Es.

A spokeswoman for the minister also said the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) has agreed to fund up to 200 additional beds.

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She said the NTPF wrote to all hospitals on Friday seeking details on what beds it can open and when.

It is expected capacity will be made available in the children's hospitals, Letterkenny General Hospital and University Hospital Limerick.

The minister expects the reduction in the minor injury clinic fee to come into effect late this week or early next week.

More funding is also going to be allocated for out-of-hours GP services.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil spokesman on mental health James Browne has said that a lack of capacity at the Central Mental Hospital and across the entire mental health services sector is leaving very vulnerable people within the prison system without any kind of care plans.

Mr Browne was commenting following recent reports of a brain-damaged homeless man who has been on remand for more than a year in Mountjoy Prison's high-dependency unit despite testimony that he is of unsound mind.

A Central Mental Hospital plan for the man's move to a care unit was cancelled for resource reasons.

Irish Independent

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