Monday 18 February 2019

Overrun to delay replacement of 'obsolete' scanners

The updating of equipment is essential for patient safety, but many hospitals are still using obsolete machines which can cost millions of euro. Stock Image
The updating of equipment is essential for patient safety, but many hospitals are still using obsolete machines which can cost millions of euro. Stock Image
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The replacement of some outdated and "obsolete" hospital medical equipment, including expensive CT scanners and diagnostics machines, is expected to be delayed as part of the cost-cutting needed to find €50m this year for the new National Children's Hospital.

The updating of equipment is essential for patient safety, but many hospitals are still using obsolete machines which can cost millions of euro. Hospital consultants have warned about the risks of old models of machines which are only kept going with spare parts.

The HSE has had to draw up of a hit-list of areas earmarked for capital spending in 2019 which have to be put back to find the €50m needed to help fund the national hospital overrun of €1.4bn.

Other Government departments have also been told to recommend capital projects which can be delayed to yield another €50m.

The list of deferred projects is due to go to Cabinet tomorrow.

There are also fears that some of the extra hospital beds to ease overcrowding will now also be delayed.

More than 600 acute beds were due to be phased in between 2018 and 2020.

A 60-bed modular or pre-fab block in University Hospital Limerick, planned to reduce the pressures on its A&E, was promised. But it recently emerged it has not been allocated its €19m funding yet, putting a question mark over how early it will now be delivered.

Other areas that could suffer include some primary care centres and the replacements and refurbishment of community nursing homes for older people who are still living in some of the Victorian buildings condemned by the Health Information and Quality Authority inspectors.

Some projects which are still held up in planning or other phases are likely to be added to the hit-list. It is understood that two big building projects will not be touched - the new Central Mental Hospital in Portrane, Dublin, and phase one of the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire.

Irish Independent

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