February 28, 2022
Hospital overcrowding underlines government failure to resource hospital capacity and reforms – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has expressed grave concern that nearly 10,000 people were left waiting on trolleys this month. He has called for the Minister to ensure that the Emergency Department Taskforce is reconvened. 

He said that this was a return to pre-pandemic days of overcrowded emergency departments, and that the same major hospitals continue to carry the worst of the crisis across most of the country as they did before the pandemic.

He warned that this underlines the failure of government to properly resource hospital capacity expansion and follow through on reforms. The capacity is not in place in promised community networks because the Government have failed to train enough health and social care professionals.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“It is very troubling to learn that nearly 10,000 people were waiting on trolleys or in wards without a hospital bed this month.

“This underlines the failure of government to properly resource enough beds and staff for hospitals to safely manage patients.

“The high trolley count indicates that some hospitals are running dangerously over capacity. This will have had consequences for patient care and the cancellation of surgeries and appointments.

“The government and HSE need to be taking all steps to reduce hospital overcrowding. The Minister must ensure that the ED Taskforce meets and that all options are on the table.

“They have had nearly two years to put in place capacity expansions in hospitals and capacity for care and for discharge in the community to avoid these high trolley levels.

“In the short term, the HSE 2022 Service Plan must include targeted measures for tackling emergency department overcrowding – both investment and reform are needed.

“In the medium term, the government must work with stakeholders to implement a strategy which must include investment in our major hospitals to expand acute hospital capacity and reforms in community care to keep patients out of hospital where possible.

“Any strategy for reducing waiting lists must include this essential component to stop ED overcrowding from interfering in scheduled care.

“This will require a joined-up approach across government departments, the HSE, and the health sector to ensure that major health infrastructure projects and reforms are advanced quickly and that funding is released without delay.”

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