There is no intention at present to reduce the bed capacity at Belmullet District Hospital.
That was confirmed today by the Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly to Midwest Radio News.
The Minister visited the District hospital yesterday and outlined the same to staff and management there, and to the community members that had gathered in support of the facility.
He said while the HSE had decided to temporarily reduce the number of beds in Belmullet from 20 to 15, due to budget overruns across the region, he has asked them to reconsider that decision, as he says he is convinced that there is demand for 20 beds at t Belmullet District hospital.
He added that demand for step down hospital care is wider than the Erris region, and said that the 20 beds in Belmullet are sustainable, however, anyone being discharged from Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar, from whatever part of the county that requires such care, will be offered it in Belmullet.
There was some controversy yesterday over the reaction of some government representatives to the protest in support of the hospital organised by the local action committee in support of Belmullet District Hospital.
Nonetheless, Minister Daly is clear that he recognises the need for 20 beds at the facility.
On our lunchtime news today at 1pm – we will have two Oireachtas members that were in Belmullet yesterday - Minister for Community and Rural Development Michael Ring, and Senator Rose Conway Walsh.