Private hospitals to open available beds to public hospital patients

The proposal is to be set up to help ease the pressure of the current bed shortage in hospitals

INMO, figures, hospital, overcrowding, numbers, emergency, nurses,

Empty hospital beds in a corridor | Image:

The Private Hospitals Association says it believes staff in public and private hospitals can work together on solutions to reduce waiting times and lists for patients.

Private hospitals are proposing for vacant beds in their facilities to be made available to public hospitals, depending on need and availability.

The association, which represents 19 private hospitals around the country, has published a set of 6 proposals which it believes would help to take pressure off the public health service.

CEO of the PHA Simon Nugent, says all healthcare professionals want to provide the best care for patients, saying that a pilot scheme to make some of their resources available to public hospitals should be put in place: "Well, what we're saying i, if I'm running admissions in a public hospital, and I've a lot of pressure for the beds, then I should be looking at all of the beds that are available in the Irish system, to see whether if maybe there is an available bed in the private hospital down the road."

"But because if there is then we could send somebody down there who could be perfectly well treated. It's a question of just looking at the beds, but really we don't talk about these things as much as we should in Ireland."

Liam Doran of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation says any moves to tackle overcrowding are welcomed.

But he believes private hospitals are limited in how much help they can provide:

"They're very much, if you'd like, focused upon elective work, which is more or less saying the admission and discharge of maybe one overnight."

"Many of the bed nights in the public hospitals are for people who have multiple illnesses. They're often frail, elderly, and they require a different level of care and attention."