€13,600 bill for Louth elderly

Figures released this week reveal that 16 patients in Louth / Meath Hospitals could remain in hospital over Christmas despite being cleared to leave by a senior doctor.

The vast majority of these ‘bed blockers’ are elderly patients over 65 who cannot leave as alternative arrangements have not been put in place.

According to the HSE’s own calculation each night in a hospital bed costs between €800-900. By the HSE’s own reckoning, this conservatively estimates the waste in excess of €13,600 per night or the equivalent of 648 hours of home care.

With 618 patients affected nationally, the main reasons for the delay include people waiting for home help, a home care package, approval for nursing home care under the Fair Deal scheme, access to a rehabilitation facility, or equipment from the HSE.

Michael Harty, Chair, Home & Community Care Ireland (HCCI), said:

“It is shocking that as we learn that this year’s public health spending will require an additional budget of €199m, the HSE is wasting over €13,600 per night on delayed discharges in Louth / Meath hospitals alone rising to over €500,000 per night nationally.

“The Government needs to act now to ensure that elderly, frail people can access appropriate funding and return home from hospital”.


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