IMO warns shortage of acute beds is 'causing chaos' in Ireland's emergency departments

The organisation has described hospitals cancelling elective surgery as an 'insane policy'

IMO warns shortage of acute beds is 'causing chaos' in Ireland's emergency departments

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Doctors say a shortage of beds is causing chaos in hospital emergency departments.

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) is launching a campaign today to highlight the lack of acute beds in hospitals across the country.

The organisation is calling for the Government to stop diverting public funds to private hospitals, and has described hospitals cancelling elective surgery as an 'insane policy'.

The IMO is also highlighting that emigration of Irish doctors is a 'major issue', and that the shortage of acute beds is now a year-round problem.

Dr Peadar Gilligan, chairman of the IMO Consultant Committee, said: “The problem is actually quite simple. Our population is rising and we have cut 1,600 public beds from our hospitals. That goes back to an ill-fated decision in 2004 to reduce the number of acute public hospital beds. We’re still paying a price for that.

"Put those together and a crisis in our public hospitals is inevitable. Any attempt to deal with the problem which doesn’t increase the bed count is PR-led, not evidence based.”

It comes as newly released figures show it costs around €325,000 in construction and capital costs to provide each new bed.

The Irish Times reports the stat is contained in a new report drawn up by the Department of Health for the new Oireachtas Committee on the future of our health service.