November 15, 2021
HSE Winter Plan tinkering around the edges and will not prevent unsustainable cuts to hospital care – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that the HSE’s Winter Preparedness Plan 2021-2022 amounts to is tinkering around the edges, and is a repackaging of previous budget measures that did not go far enough.

He added that the winter crisis management plan will not prevent unsustainable cuts to inpatient treatment because the Budget did not go far enough.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“There is a serious crisis in our hospitals, which will deepen into the winter.

“There were more than 400 people on hospital trolleys today, according to the INMO, despite cancellations and emergency measures.

“The same hospitals are experiencing the same problems – overcrowding and cancellations in Limerick, Galway, and Letterkenny in particular but also Cork, Waterford, and across the state.

“The Winter Plan will not prevent unsustainable cuts to inpatient hospital care because the Government did not act earlier and did not go far enough in the Budget.

“The HSE plan is nothing more than tinkering around the edges and further privatisation, and it is far too late.

“Hospitals are being overwhelmed by massive emergency department admissions, not only Covid-19, and they are both causing crises with a lack of integration across the health service.

“There is no additional investment in beds until 2023, or in equipment, theatre capacity, and safe staffing which are needed to boost capacity and keep hospitals running.

“Staff are exhausted and burned out, morale is at an all-time low, and many are thinking of leaving.

“Many young workers in the health service will emigrate because they are overworked, their overtime rates are not paid properly, and they do not feel valued or respected, be they student nurses, trainee doctors or far advanced in their career.

“Capacity deficiencies in general practice, IT systems, and primary care, and slow processes in recruitment and capital approval, will remain unchanged also.

“The time to act on the ground was five months ago, when there was some hope of new projects coming on stream but this Winter Plan will fail to address the unprecedented crises in health.”

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