Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD said that hospital staff, from student nurses to top-tier consultants, feel overwhelmed and let down by pay inequality and a lack of investment in emergency capacity.
Speaking this evening, Teachta Cullinane said:
“Staff in our hospitals are working flat out and are reaching breaking point.
“Following very open engagement with the Irish Medical Organisation today, I am highly concerned for the welfare of healthcare workers.
“They are extremely anxious and stressed as they see the circumstances continue to worsen, and they see very clearly that the worst is coming.
“From student nurses to top-tier consultants, they feel overwhelmed by their workload and let down by government.
“In August, I launched a plan for delivering emergency capacity to deliver more temporary beds, expand space, and keep staff and patients safe.
“It also proposed resolving pay inequality for consultants, which is a major barrier to recruitment and retention.
“It is a sore point for workers when they are still dealing with pay inequality while they work to save lives during this pandemic.
“The IMO made similar submissions which were also ignored, and this has not materialised.
“We have had a year of soothing words from one Minister to the next, but this is an extreme crisis as there are now 1700 Covid-19 patients in hospital and 158 in ICU.
“The bed numbers we were promised have not materialised. We have nowhere near the number of ICU beds that we need, and knew we needed more than a decade ago.
“We never got travel restrictions right, we never got testing and tracing – especially for airports and sea ports – right, and we never got the beds our health service needed.
“Frontline healthcare workers are looking for certainty and, above all, transparency, in relation to the vaccine rollout, as are the general public.
“There is a lot of anxiety and hearsay, which needs to be addressed with honest truth – if the government does not know when people will be vaccinated, that needs to be said.”