THE bill for providing security at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital topped the €1 million mark for the first time last year, according to the HSE.
Figures released to the Limerick Leader show security costs at the region’s biggest acute hospital have increased by 15 per cent over the past three years.
In comparison, the bill for providing security at Galway University Hospital has increased by a relatively modest one per cent in the same period of time.
The HSE spent €1,058 million securing the Dooradoyle hospital campus in 2011, compared to €724,593 at the Galway hospital. This means security costs in Limerick were 48% more expensive than GUH in 2011 when they were 28 per cent costlier in 2009 and 38 per cent more expensive in 2010.
Concern about the “disproportionately” high cost of providing security at the Limerick hospitals has been raised at meetings of the HSE West Forum by Clare county councillor Brian Meaney.
And, former Mayor of Limerick Ger Fahy, another member of the forum, appealed to the HSE to expedite the tendering of the security contract for Limerick Regional, St John’s and the Mid-Western Regional Maternity Hospital to see “if efficiencies can be found in the interests of the public purse”.
After raising his concerns at the forum in May of last year, Cllr Meaney was told by the HSE’s then area manager for the Mid-West Bernard Gloster that the large spread-out nature of the hospital campus in Dooradoyle - and the need to secure the critical care block under construction - was adding to costs.
The HSE Mid-West has told the Limerick Leader a new tendering process (for security services) is currently in train.
“A contract was awarded in December 2006 for three years with an option to extend for a further two years on an annual basis. This expired in December 2011. The contract covered Dooradoyle, Regional Maternity and St Johns,” a spokesman said.
“The contract expired in December 2011 and a new public tendering process is currently taking place and is been dealt with nationally by the HSE.”
A full version of this story was published in the Limerick Leader, print edition, dated August 4, 2012