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Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD with Breedge Finn, Clinical Nurse Manager at Beaumount as he officially opens new Cardiac Intervention Unit at Beaumont Hospital Dublin, last week

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD with Breedge Finn, Clinical Nurse Manager at Beaumount as he officially opens new Cardiac Intervention Unit at Beaumont Hospital Dublin, last week

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD with Breedge Finn, Clinical Nurse Manager at Beaumount as he officially opens new Cardiac Intervention Unit at Beaumont Hospital Dublin, last week

Health Minister Leo Varadkar has said that freeing up beds in the health service is one of his top priorities for next year.

He said that there were approximately 800 patients in hospitals across the country who did not need to be there.

The minister, who intends to approach his colleagues in the Cabinet with a long-term plan to free up beds, added that he was investing in initiatives to prevent delayed discharge.

Serious

The minister said there is still a "very serious problem" with overcrowding in emergency departments, ten years after he worked in them as a junior doctor.

Last Friday, nurses at Beaumont staged the first in a series of lunchtime protests at the gates of the hospital to highlight a crisis in emergency care they view as being more serious than it was in 2006 when a national health emergency was declared.

The minister was speaking as he attended the opening of a new cardiac intervention unit at the hospital.

Construction of the new facility, in addition to refurbishment of an existing intervention unit, involved an investment of over €2.2m.

A cardiac intervention unit is an examination room equipped with sophisticated imaging technology which allows doctors to diagnose and treat heart conditions using catheters instead of surgery.

"It shows that even though funding available to our health service is tight, it is still possible to find some money to invest in modern technology and new high-quality facilities.

"This new facility has increased capacity for cardiological interventions in the region which can be ramped up further in future years," Minister Varadkar said.

One of the key successes of the project had been the great inter-departmental cooperation within the hospital from the start of the undertaking, according to Liam Duffy, Chief Executive of Beaumont.

fdillon@herald.ie


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