Dismay at drop in number of hospital beds
Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Carál Ní Chuilín has expressed concern at the drop in the number of beds available to treat people in our hospitals; and also the drop in occupancy rates after the publication of the Health Departments Hospital statistics for 2006/7.
Ms Ní Chuilín said:
"The loss of almost 200 'average' hospital beds over the past year is very worrying especially at a time when occupancy levels are also decreasing. We need to see capacity developed to ensure that we can meet immediate need and effectively tackle the long waiting list .
"We are cutting the number of beds yet the number of admissions is increasing. What we do not want to see is patient care being affected or any increase in patients being left on trolleys.
"Hopefully the drop in the length of stay in hospital means that step-down and community care is being developed to free up our beds and lessen the problems of bed blocking. However, we must ensure that we develop the capacity in our hospitals to make a real impact on hospital waiting lists and not just one generated by manipulating figures.
"Frontline medical staff are struggling to meet the demands of the modern health services, they need the resources and planning to ensure that the capacity is developed so that they are not being over stretched by these demands.
"There is also the ongoing problem of non attendance and this is costing our health service thousands of pounds. This loss of resources must also be addressed more urgently." ENDS