November 16, 2020
357 Hospital beds closed as waiting lists increase – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has said the closure of 357 hospital beds as outpatient and inpatient wait times continue to rise, is due to a lack of planning.

Speaking today Teachta Cullinane said:

“Up to the week ending 8th November, 357 hospital beds were closed. 213 were closed due to infection control measures, 78 due to refurbishment and 56 due to staff shortages.

“Meanwhile outpatient wait times now stand at over 612,000, with over 203,000 patients waiting to see a consultant for over a year and 150,000 waiting over 18 months.

“Despite the spin, our acute hospitals are heading for an extremely difficult Winter without adequate support. In August I published a plan warning that infection control measures would lead to bed closures. I also warned that the need to recruit nurses was central to reopening beds.

“Today we learn that in St Vincent’s University Hospital alone, there are 98 vacant nursing positions. Across the state there are 500 vacant consultant posts.

“Unless we address capacity issues, we are facing a Winter like no other. We need rapid build modular units to provide hospitals with additional space. We need to deal with pay equity issues to allow us to hire the specialists required.

“In short we need a credible, realistic and deliverable plan, and one that ensures the beds, the nurses, the specialists and the capacity required are in place as quickly as possible.”

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