CEO of private hospital in Dublin defends decision not to sign HSE bed-capacity deal

CEO of private hospital in Dublin defends decision not to sign HSE bed-capacity deal

THE CEO of a private hospital in Dublin has defended the facility's decision not to opt into the HSE bed-capacity deal.

Earlier this month, a number of private hospitals around the country signed an agreement with Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE) to provide surge capacity facilities should public hospitals run out of room for Covid-19 patients.

In total, 16 private hospitals signed the deal, but controversy struck last week when it was revealed that staff members at Beacon Hospital - a private facility in Dublin which did not opt into the deal - received Covid-19 vaccines before a large number of public healthcare workers.

As such, Beacon came under scrutiny, with HSE chief Paul Reid among others criticising the hospital's decision amid "the biggest health crisis in the history of the state".

But Beacon CEO Michael Cullen defended the decision on RTÉ's Morning Ireland.

He said the hospital took its decision because of its experience during a previous surge of the virus, during which it ended up 70% empty when it would ordinarily operate at over 90% capacity.

He insisted the issue has never been about money, but about the fact that they had a system geared to operate at full capacity, but were only able to treat a small percentage of patients by providing surge capacity.

"A huge number of patients did not get treated who should have been treated during that time," he said of the previous surge of Covid-19 infection.

When asked if there was any spare capacity at present, Mr Cullen said his ICU was at 50%, but would be at full capacity by next week.

He added that he was "disappointed" by Mr Reid's comments, arguing that his hospital was providing "significant capacity" to the public system through surgeries, diagnostics and intensive care.