Sinn Féin TD for Sligo-Leitrim, Martin Kenny, has raised the issue of hospital overcrowding in Sligo University Hospital with the Minister in a topical issue debate on the Saolta Hospital Group in the Dáil.
Teachta Kenny said:
“I welcomed the opportunity to put this important matter to the Minister of State. The Saolta hospital group had 800 patients on trolleys last week – double the number of the next highest group.
“Today, figures available through Trolley Watch indicate that 25 people are on trolleys in Sligo University Hospital alone. 30% of patients on trolleys across the state last week were in a Saolta Hospital Group.
“The government has not provided for one additional inpatient acute bed in Budget 2022 and the HSE Winter plan provides for additional capacity of just 143 beds across the state.
“I received correspondence today from the HSE outlining that only one additional ICU bed had been made available in Sligo University Hospital this year.
“One additional ICU bed in the middle of a pandemic is certainly not good enough. Added to that, there are very serious staffing issues in Sligo. Healthcare workers and nursing staff are simply burnt out from carrying the weight of an understaffed and underinvested system for many years.
“We in Sinn Féin have recently held meetings with the Saolta Hospital Group senior management to discuss these issues.
“The failure of the government to adequately plan for a Covid and winter flu surge, along with decades of underinvestment in the regions to tackle health inequality is being acutely felt across the Saolta hospital group, but in Sligo University Hospital in particular.
“Sinn Féin put forward a plan for 932 additional beds across the healthcare system and the recruitment of 6,250 additional staff.
“This funding would have targeted hospitals that have the greatest need and the longest waiting lists. Our plan also included a €225 million capital funding package to expand theatre capacity and modernise equipment.
“Our hospitals are in crisis across the state, and nowhere is this more evident than in the hospitals across the Saolta Hospital group, and particularly in Sligo hospital.
“Unfortunately, this crisis will deepen over the winter and the Minister needs to take urgent action to address the waiting list crisis, properly resource and fund Sligo University Hospital to open the beds and recruit the staff that are desperately needed.”