Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has expressed concern at crisis-level overcrowding in hospitals as the INMO records 760 patients admitted to hospital without a bed.
Teachta Cullinane said that record overcrowding was driven by failures of the recently-reappointed Minister for Health to drive investment and reform in the health service.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“Emergency department dysfunction such as this is a symptom of everything going wrong at the same time in a health service which does not have enough capacity.
“After nearly 2½ years in the job, the Minister for Health has yet to produce a multi-annual plan for the health service.
“Hospitals are dangerously overcrowded yet there is no urgency to tackle this crisis from the Minister.
“A quarter of the beds promised two years ago are still nowhere to be seen, and the Minister is limping year to year with short term plans which never meet their targets.
“The Winter Plan for this year promises 51 emergency department consultants – there will be few, if any, permanent appointments this winter, and approximately half of the posts will not be filled.
“GP services are buckling under pressure, with out-of-hours services collapsing. People are facing lengthy waits for home care. Delayed discharges are piling up.
“Covid has added a challenge, but the Health Service has been resourced significantly to manage this.
“The root problem is in the speed of decision making in investment and reform, and a failure to retain, as well as train, enough healthcare workers.
“The Health Service still does not have regional health authorities, multi-annual budgets, or a proper workforce strategy. There is no delivery from the Ministers for Health or Higher Education here.
“The Government’s failures on housing and the cost of living have added to these difficulties.
“This Government has failed to deliver meaningful change in healthcare and a return to record, pre-pandemic levels of unsafe overcrowding is one of the consequences.
“A Sinn Féin Government would prioritise rapid delivery of expansion projects and strategic workforce planning to retain and train more healthcare workers.
“With better, multi-annual planning and measures to address the housing and cost of living crisis, we can bring more healthcare professionals home to work in Ireland.”