May 22, 2023
Record hospital cancellations show government answer to health service chaos is to shift burden from one area to another – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has said that record hospital cancellations is proof that the government’s answer to chaos in our health service is to shift burdens from one area to another without solving any of the problems.

The Waterford TD was speaking ahead of bringing forward solutions to the crisis, which will be debated in the Dáil on Tuesday. 

Teachta Cullinane said:

“Record hospital cancellations show that the government’s answer to health service chaos is shifting the burden from one area to another without solving any of the problems.

“This is not a solution to the deepening crisis in our health service, which is at breaking point.

“We have record waiting lists, record waiting times and now we have record levels of cancellations.

“The average emergency department waiting time for admission so far this year stands at 11.5 hours, which is an hour longer than for the same period in 2019.

“The trolley scandal which Fine Gael pledged to end is now worse than ever. It has become a year-round threat to patient safety, with an average of more than 550 patients on trolleys every day so far this month compared to 350 in May 2011.

“There were 24,000 hospital appointments and procedures cancelled in April 2023, which is an increase of 70% on April 2022 and greater than the number of cancellations in January 2023.

“Hospital waiting lists now stand at 888,000 patients, with more than 500,000 people waiting longer than the Sláintecare targets agreed by the Oireachtas, and with more than 225,000 people waiting for a diagnostic scan.

“The government has no plan to fix the health service. They are only making it worse. The longer Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are in power, the more this scandalous situation will continue to spiral out of control.

“We need a serious multi-annual capacity plan, backed up by strategic workforce planning, to tackle the trolley crisis. 

“The fact is we also need 1,000 more hospital beds than we have now, yet the government has no plan to deliver them. 

“The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, has said he will produce a new plan for 1,500 beds over the next few years. This doesn’t come close to cutting the mustard – we need a plan for 2,500 beds according to ESRI estimates. 

“The government has no plan to train the health workers we need to safely staff the health service. 

“The health service can be fixed but it needs a government and minister with the political will to do so.

“A Sinn Féin government would drive reform, increase bed capacity, hold the health service accountable, and train and retain the healthcare workers we need to safely staff the health service.”

Sinn Féin’s motion can be read here.

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