Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has called for action on all fronts of the health service as it struggles in the wake of Covid-19 and a decade of underinvestment.
Teachta Cullinane’s remarks come on foot of news that UHL has suspended elective and outpatient activity as the trolley count climbs from emergency department overspill, and an ESRI report that projects that billions will be needed for the health service in coming years.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“The health service is struggling to keep pace with demand from planned and emergency patient care.
“The level of patients on trolleys at UHL has reached a critically unsafe level resulting in a suspension of elective and outpatient activity.
“This was avoidable – problems with capacity at UHL have been known for years – but the government does not grasp the scale of the problem.
“They have not put the investment in to secure enough beds for both planned and emergency care.
“Last week, I launched a plan to deliver enough hospital beds to avoid this sort of crisis in hospitals and the acute sector.
“The plan also provided for expansion of theatre capacity, new diagnostic equipment, more than 4,000 additional healthcare workers, and 600 consultants to address demand for inpatient, outpatient and emergency care.
“We have also seen this morning the scale of the investment needed in the non-acute community health and social care services to 2035.
“The ESRI projects spending on these services to increase by €8bn or more in 15 years.
“This will be needed to deliver care in the home and care in the community on the scale needed to manage an ageing population and ensure access to innovative and high-tech treatments.
“Urgent action is needed on all fronts and we will be publishing a wide range of measures to address this in our alternative budget this year.”