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Budget must face crisis in capacity IHCA conference hears

“The evidence that we need more acute hospital capacity is compelling,” said Dr Tom Ryan, President of the IHCA. The IHCA conference was held in Limerick today.

“Despite a growing and ageing population, over 1,400 in-patient acute hospital beds were closed over the last decade. The number of elective surgeries declined by 50 per cent in the last four years. There has been a persistent policy of rationing healthcare by the State as it has systematically decreased the number of in-patient beds in public hospitals.

“Governments have failed to address this in successive Budgets and Health Capital Plans, which is the root cause of waiting lists and the treatment of patients on trolleys.

“In the last year over 90,000 acutely ill patients received some or all of their hospital care on trolleys. The Government must immediately introduce solutions to fix this chronic lack of capacity or patients will face another decade of a failing health system where long waiting lists and trolley based care will be considered as standard.‘’

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