Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has expressed alarm at the spike in the number of patients on trolleys, saying that that the Government is failing to tackle persistent and worsening hospital overcrowding.
Speaking ahead of a panel discussion at the 20th National Health Summit at Croke Park, Teachta Cullinane said it was “incredible” that Government has yet to fund the 1,500 hospital beds that are needed. He was responding to the INMO’s Trolley Watch figures for February 7th, which showed 710 patients inappropriately admitted to hospital this morning.
The TD for Waterford said that 1,000 hospital beds are needed to address overcrowding “right now,” while up to 500 additional beds are needed every year according to the ESRI.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“This morning’s INMO Trolley Watch count is another stark reminder of this Government’s failure to tackle the trolley crisis.
“These figures may no longer seem shocking to those in Government because they are far too high every day. But we cannot allow hospital overcrowding to become normalised. It is not normal.
“The Minister and Government need to urgently fund the 1,500 rapid build beds. They must also invest in community healthcare alternatives – in pharmacies, GP care, and home care.
“We know that there is a deficit of around 1,000 beds in the hospital system right now. We need another 500 beds a year to keep up with demand. This should be funded on a continuous basis to keep up with demographic changes, yet the Government has chosen not to do that.
“This Government has its head in the sand on hospital overcrowding and the trolley crisis. Officials in the Department of Health and the HSE have a plan for these beds. They know where they need to go. They know where to get the suppliers. They have already done this work but needed funding in Budget 2024. The Government did not want to know and refused to fund the necessary investment in bed capacity.
“The longer this Government is in office, the worse these problems will get and the longer they will take to solve.”