Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has called for the Oireachtas Health Committee to meet urgently with the HSE, to discuss the worst overcrowding ever recorded in public hospitals.
The publication of the INMO’s Trolley Watch figures for January 3rd show a record 931 patients have been admitted to hospital without a bed.
Teachta Cullinane has said that it is clear that the Minster’s Winter Plan is not working and that an urgent strategy is needed to tackle the crisis.
The Waterford TD said:
“The overcrowding crisis in public hospitals has reached a new and worrying peak.
“The Oireachtas Health Committee must meet urgently to address this crisis and hear from the HSE.
“We need to hear what has been done, what isn’t working, and what more is needed.
“According to frontline workers, patients are being treated in unsafe and inhumane conditions, and this is not confined to the usual few hospitals. This crisis has now spread across almost every major hospital.
“This is having a major impact on other healthcare facilities, with thousands of cancellations and worse health outcomes for patients.
“This week, we are unfortunately witnessing the worst overcrowding on record in public hospitals.
“This has been caused by surges in respiratory infections across several viruses, on top of a decade of underfunding of our hospitals and primary care system.
“This crisis was predicted many months ago by clinicians on the frontline who have been working heroically to save lives. There were always going to be difficulties during winter, as there are surges every year.
“But healthcare workers have been failed by a Minister for Health and a Government which have not given them the tools they need to get through winter without this crisis.
“Hospitals don’t have the beds they need, and we don’t have the GPs and nurses in the community to take the pressure off of hospitals.
“The HSE is advising patients to try all other options to avoid going to an emergency department if possible. The problem is that these alternatives do not exist or are also overwhelmed.
“We need an all-hands-on-deck approach and everything that can be done, must be done.
“We urgently need a six-week plan to maximise use of existing capacity across the health system and steer the health service through the period ahead.”