Press Release

Minister Martin refutes Deputy Mitchell´s erroneous claims on bed closures

At present (25 May, 2001) there are 125 beds closed, some due to nursing shortages – approx. 52; the remainder for refurbishment.

The current total number of beds closed is a 65% improvement over the same time last year. This is due to the successful recruitment campaign of nurses at home and abroad – approx. 1300 in the last 6 months.

Deputy Mitchell interpreted the figures incorrectly and at its worst period in 2000, closures totalled 875 – approx. 50% of these were due to refurbishment, 20% due to seasonal factors and the remainder because of nursing shortages. Please see table for present situation.

There are also other initiatives launched by the Minister to retain nursing staff:

  1. Abolition of fees for postgraduate courses and back-to-nursing courses
  2. Increase in training places up to 1500 per annum
  3. Introduction of flexible working initiatives.

The information required by Deputy Mitchell was on a quarterly basis. It is neither possible nor accurate to add the closures in each quarter to provide a total for the year as closures vary from quarter to quarter as outlined above.

Please find detailed below, information in respect of current closures in the Eastern Regional Health Authority and the Health Boards:

Number of Bed Closures as of 24 May 2001:

Health Board Total No. of Closures Reasons

(position as at 20 May)

  • Mater – 15
  • St Columcille’s – 18
  • Tallaght – 2 in ICU
  • Nursing shortages
  • Nursing shortages
  • Not specified
Midland 0
  • Croom – 25
  • Nenagh General Hospital – 4
  • Ward refurbishment
  • Capital works (development)
North Eastern
  • Monaghan – 14
  • Louth County – 14
  • Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda – 21
  • Temporary suspension of obstetric services
  • Temporary suspension of obstetric services
  • Nursing shortages
North Western Sligo General – 6 Ward refurbishment
South Eastern 0
Southern St Finbarr’s – 6 Ward refurbishment
Western 0
Total 125

* Please note that if a hospital is not specified all beds are open.

** There are currently 16 additional beds over and above the normal complement open in the eight acute adult general hospitals in the ERHA.

Whilst there are 35 beds closed, overall an additional 51 have been opened – 29 in Tallaght, 5 in JCMH and 17 in St VincentÂ’s.

*** The current total number of beds closed is a 65% improvement over the same quarter last year (ie. the quarter with the lowest level of closures).