Sinn Féin TD for Kildare North Réada Cronin has said staff and patients at Naas General Hospital have been abandoned by the Government to deal with a Covid-19 outbreak alone, despite repeated warnings that protective measures for staff were insufficient.
The hospital has today announced it is suspending planned surgeries for the next two weeks, due to being overwhelmed by a Covid-19 outbreak.
Speaking today, Teachta Cronin said:
“The way the Government has handled this has been appalling throughout. For months, I’ve been warning them that the measures in place were not enough to protect staff and patients from an outbreak.
“During the summer, staff were contacting me worried about the protection they were being given. I took these concerns directly to the Health Minister himself, asking that staff be screened pro-actively instead of reactively waiting for outbreaks. The Minister? He dismissed my request, told me that such a step was excessive and unnecessary.”
“I raised this issue again at the Covid committee in the Oireachtas. But, again, I was dismissed and the Government refused to act.”
“Earlier this week, I highlighted the dangerous situation whereby Covid patients and Non-Covid patients were using the same toilet facilities, with Covid patients forced to access these through a General Ward. Isolation is the very basics of managing this virus, so I was horrified by this unnecessary risk of infection and the spreading of the virus.
“Today, we are in the horrendous situation where the hospital is becoming overwhelmed with multiple outbreaks and has had to cancel all planned surgeries for a fortnight.
“This situation was entirely avoidable if the Government had listened to their staff and my repeated efforts to highlight their concerns.
“The second wave was always coming. It’s patently clear that the Government squandered the ‘quiet time’ of the virus when numbers were low. This was the time for the government to instruct the HSE to get its systems in place – like a Covid unit at Naas with its own toilets – and demand to inspect the finished product. But they did nothing of the sort. That is why Naas General Hospital is like it is and that is why we are in another lockdown. The Government simply did not do the work.
“Once again, I’m urging the Health Minister to act and to do so immediately. The people of Kildare deserve better and safer. They need immediate government action, not more government dismissal and indifference.”