Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has described the government’s health strategy as “a shambles which is failing patients.”
The Louth TD described the record numbers of patients on hospital waiting lists and on trolleys and in wards waiting on admission as “a scandal” and “evidence that after 9 years of Fine Gael governments there has been an absolute failure to get to grips with the crisis in the health service.”
Teachta Adams pointed to the growing numbers of over 75’s forced to spend more than 24 hours on trolleys.
Gerry Adams said:
“In a PQ response from the Department of Health it was revealed that between January and November of last year, 349 citizens aged over 75 years spent more than 24 hours on a hospital trolley in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. In November alone the figure was 53.
“The most recent figures from the outpatient waiting lists reveal that over half a million citizens are waiting appointments. Last November Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda had 12,829 citizens awaiting their first appointment and of these over two thirds have been waiting for more than three months. Louth County Hospital has 2133 patients on its waiting list. Over half of these have been waiting for more than three months.
“This week there were record numbers of patients in our overcrowded Accident and Emergency departments across the State. The hard work of a dedicated staff cannot compensate for the lack of adequate staffing levels and capacity within our acute hospital system. According to the INMO there are 411 fewer inpatient beds in our hospitals today than a decade ago, despite a larger, older population.
“This crisis in waiting lists and trolley numbers did not happen out of the blue or because of the latest flu outbreak. It is part and parcel of the absence of a coherent government health strategy, and inadequate resources. Last year there were almost one hundred and twenty thousand patients stuck in overcrowded Emergency departments.
“Behind these statistics are citizens, human beings, who are often frightened and concerned about their health and yet are forced to endure lengthy waits for hospital appointments or on hospital trolleys.
“While Minister Harris in Health, like Minister Murphy in Housing, are responsible for the crises in these two essential public services, both Ministers are implementing government policy – housing and health policies that are supported by Fianna Fáil.
“Urgent action is needed by Minister Harris to end the trolley crisis. This requires a crisis intervention package of measures, including increasing staff and bed capacity, lifting the recruitment embargo on frontline staff, expanding community care and moving ahead speedily with the Sláintecare reforms.”