Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that healthcare workers are overworked, exhausted, and at burnout. He has said that they cannot be expected to continue to shoulder the burden of underinvestment in the health service which has led to this.
Speaking today, Teachta Cullinane said:
“Healthcare workers have come through a year of relentless work against the pandemic and keeping health services running.
“They had an extremely difficult winter last year and have faced unimaginable challenges this year.
“It has been non-stop, and they are at burnout. Morale is low and investment is lacking.
“Issues of pay inequality, widespread vacancies, excessive workloads and working hours, little rest, and a lack of capacity or safe staffing levels have led to this.
“These are all issues which existed before the pandemic and are not caused by it.
“A lack of Health and Safety Authority inspections, no serial testing in hospitals, a haphazard vaccine rollout and battles for PPE have made this worse and hurt morale.
“Healthcare workers are not getting the respect they deserve, and their welfare is not being prioritised.
“All healthcare worker representatives agree that a tsunami of catch-up care is coming at the health service due to the missed care from the pandemic.
“Now is the time for a change in direction. Real and significant investments must be made urgently.
“This is needed to expand staffing levels for fair work and expand capacity to deliver safe and consistent care to clear the backlog of waiting lists.
“We cannot expect healthcare workers to shoulder the burden of underinvestment in health. The system needs real and profound change.
“The considerable delay to addressing the pay concerns of student nurses and midwives is a symbol of the lack of respect afforded to healthcare workers.
“The Minister has still not published the pandemic report despite the passage three weeks ago of a Sinn Féin motion to publish it immediately.
“Students are resuming placements to fill staffing gaps and there are still no arrangements in place to pay them.
“There has been no movement to resolve the long-term issues of fair and reasonable allowances or to pay fourth year interns at the healthcare assistant rate.
“If Fianna Fáil is not willing to step up to the mark and transform our health service, they should step aside for a party that is.”