Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has warned the Taoiseach that a decade of failure from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to adequately finance the health service has left the country vulnerable due to poor capacity levels.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Teachta McDonald told the Taoiseach:
“The recent NPHET recommendation came against the backdrop of a very serious capacity deficit in our health service. They are very worried and they are right to be worried.
“The vulnerabilities we now face are down to you and your partner Leo Varadkar. In 2009, we had 289 critical care beds. We now have only 280. That represents a decade of failure from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Last night, there were only 39 adult ICU beds available.
“Along with testing and tracing, capacity in our hospitals is the most important measure to protect us from going into lockdowns.
“When we spoke yesterday, Taoiseach, I asked you to provide assurances that we have the necessary supplies of PPE, Testing Kits, reagent, laboratory space and ventilators to deal with a second surge. You couldn’t give me that assurance. This is worrying given the rate of infection.”
Teachta McDonald called on the Taoiseach to ensure adequate financial and mental health supports are in place to support people through heightened lockdown restrictions. She said:
“It seems the government does have a grasp of what is actually needed to ensure that people can live safely alongside the virus. This also came across strongly in Teachta Varadkar’s interview last night when he expressed his concern about mental health, isolation and poverty.
“If you are truly concerned about these things take action in next week’s Budget. Put in place the resources to ensure that anybody suffering with their mental health can access counselling with a referral from their GP.
“End the abandonment of citizens with disabilities, their families and carers. Provide real protections against people drifting into poverty and debt by restoring the PUP.”