Tuesday, September 13, 2011

HSE "Targeting the weak" says Tom Higgins on Dungarvan Hospital Cuts

Cuts, cutbacks, cost saving measures, phrases that we are becoming all to used to hearing and reading in these grey days of recession though whatever word is used to describe an action taken by any government agency or private corporation (i.eTalk Talk/GSK) can only end up in the inevitable creation of a few more victims of this fiscal crisis.

Today we learn that fifteen beds and a number of agency staff are envisaged to be lost from our local Dungarvan Community Hospital due to measures by the HSE to aid in the recovery of a local 3 million euro budget overspend.

Without figures at hand the amount of people affected by this is hard to judge, the beds are said to be "short term" beds.  Is that a couple of days, a week, two months, and which patients do they serve? Though it is obviously going to affect not only those  requiring these beds but also their families, friends and carers who I imagine will be having to make a decision on whether to care for the loved one at home or seek alternative respite/rehab care elsewhere, meaning higher costs and longer journeys for any visits. Though where these beds can be found is any one's guess.

3 million is quite an overspend you'll agree and Waterford Community Services should provide details of just how this came about, we are all balancing the books at the moment but the importance of our health care facilities should really mean that they should be the last resort when it comes to making cuts. After all the most important factor is that this is a "Community Hospital" that, after undergoing a 32 bedroom extension costing 10 million euro, (opened ironically by The Chair of the HSE almost to this day only 1 year ago) is now going to house 15 less beds, though those that survive will undoubtedly comprise of better conditions/facilities, they will serve fewer people and therefore a smaller percentage of Our Community.

In a recession and times of financial hardship the term "less is more" is often wise advice, but not in this case, keep these beds and jobs in Dungarvan Community Hospital!

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