October 25, 2022
Government hospital overcrowding disaster sets new October record with no plan in sight – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has said that the government’s failure to tackle hospital overcrowding has set a new record this morning with 669 patients on trolleys. 

He said that the Minister for Health has yet to publish a plan for hospital overcrowding or demonstrate any vision to tackle the problem in the coming years.

The TD for Waterford said that there are measures which could help in the short-term, such as a rapid discharge plan to community recovery beds, and that there was a need for a multi-annual plan to boost capacity in the health system, especially in primary care. 

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The government’s failure to tackle the crisis in our hospitals has set a new record today, with 669 patients languishing on trolleys this morning – more in a single day in October than in any previous year over the last decade.

“This new record highlights the Minister for Health’s failure to deliver the necessary capacity and reforms in hospitals, primary care, and community care.

“The Minister has not published a plan or demonstrated any vision for solving this crisis in the coming years. The Winter Plan published this month is a distraction, which will deliver too little, too late, and lacks the multi-annual planning needed to resolve this crisis.

“There are measures which can be taken in the next few weeks that would reduce the pressure on hospitals.

“According to the INMO, there are at least 650 patients in hospitals whose care could be better delivered closer to home in a recovery bed in a community setting.

“Discharge plans should be in place for every patient admitted to hospital to ensure that they are discharged to a recovery bed as soon as they are ready to leave hospital.

“That would have an immediate impact on trolley numbers and allow patients to be cared for in a more appropriate setting.

“These beds could be in nursing homes or community and district hospitals, or other step-down facilities. Many nursing homes have empty beds, some have up to 30% of their capacity which could be used by the HSE, of those I have visited.

“In the medium- and long-term, we need a concrete plan with specific targets and implementation plans to expand public recovery, step-down, and hospital beds.

“We also need a clear plan to address the lack of GPs and deficits in primary care, GP out of hours care, and the lack of late pharmacies. This is causing thousands of people to attend hospitals when they could be cared for elsewhere if the capacity was there.

“Without a multi-annual workforce and capital plan to train and retain staff and expand infrastructure, the overcrowding crisis in hospitals will continue to worsen.”

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