HSE chief hits out at Beacon hospital for failing to provide beds


The chief executive of the HSE has lambasted Dublin’s Beacon private hospital for not offering beds, despite “extremely tightened up” capacity across the country during “the biggest health crisis in the history of the state”.

As the Irish Examiner reports, Paul Reid, who was speaking to Katie Hannon on RTÉ Radio One, blasted management of the Beacon for failing to sign up to a deal to allow the HSE to use beds in private hospitals in order to tackle the current Covid-19 crisis.

“I do have to express my extreme frustration that the Beacon has not signed up to that agreement.

We have our public health system facing the biggest crisis, probably, in the history of the state for our health services.

“We have a fantastic team of people across all our hospitals, including private, working relentlessly. But we are racing to save people’s lives here.

“It is beyond frustration for me, and it is beyond belief and comprehension, and I would be urging the board to sign up to the Safety Net agreement.”

Beacon management said in response that a vaccination centre was offered to HSE healthcare workers free of charge as a goodwill gesture.

Surge capacity

“While engagement is ongoing with the HSE regarding a new centralised arrangement, the Beacon Hospital is of the view that it can treat more public and private patients through its existing arrangements, rather than through an additional new agreement.”

Mr Reid said Ireland’s health system has formally gone into surge capacity, with intensive care beds dwindling.

“It is extremely tightened up. In terms of available beds…we have surged that up to around 313…we have 28 beds available for adults and 12 paediatrics at the moment. It is getting extremely tight.”

There are about 480 general beds available across the system, he added.

In terms of intensive care patients, there are around another 250 that were borderline or in the so-called “amber zone”, he said.

“There are still around 250 people not in ICU, but who would be receiving that kind of intensive supports, particularly in terms of oxygen and sometime high-flow oxygen supports,” Mr Reid said.

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