As pressure increases on acute hospital beds during the Covid-19 pandemic, an Erris doctor is calling for investment in Belmullet District Hospital, which would allow more beds to open at the hospital, and relieve some of the pressure on Mayo University Hospital.

Belmullet-based Dr Fergal Ruane has written to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, outlining his fears that the district hospital is being wound down.

He says the Belmullet hospital currently only has 12 patients - down from 40 beds a number of years ago -which he claims is a massive underutilisation of available space and nursing staff.

Dr Ruane also outlined the case of a 95-year old patient, who developed an ulcer on his leg as a result of catheterisation.

The elderly man, who lives alone, would normally be admitted to Belmullet Hospital for management of the problem, but instead had to be sent to Mayo University Hospital where he was catheterised and discharged home, where he ran into further problems.

Dr Ruane says the District Hospital would be a more appropriate setting for this patient and others in the Erris region, and would free up acute beds at Mayo University Hospital during the current pandemic.

The Belmullet GP told Midwest News that a small investment in the District Hospital could be put in place to increase bed capacity.

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