Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has unveiled a €1.9bn plan to protect capacity in the health service.
He has called on the Minister for Health to take urgent action to protect capacity and workers.
Speaking this morning, Teachta Cullinane said: “Our health service is facing a perfect storm. Patients and healthcare workers need our support.
“We have a plan for reopening the economy, we have a plan for reopening schools.
“Now we need a realistic plan to protect Ireland’s health.
“Sinn Féin has proposed a €1.9 billion plan to protect capacity in the health service.
“Every option has to be on the table, and workers need to be guaranteed certainty in their employment.
“We need to expand physical infrastructure through space in the community, repurposing space in acute hospitals, expanding space through modular units, and leveraging at-cost capacity in the private sector.
“Covid-19 has exposed a decades-long failure to build a public health system that has enough doctors, nurses and beds.
“Pre-Covid, our health system was in crisis. Now, it is under pressure on several fronts: overworked staff, Covid care, non-Covid care, catching up on delayed care, a vast reduction in capacity, and the looming winter flu.
“There are now more than 700,000 people on waiting lists, and this will continue to grow. We could lose from 20 to 40% bed capacity.
“Frontline staff are at burnout and cannot continue to work overtime in understaffed conditions. This is not safe or fair for staff or patients.
“This is an emergency – it needs emergency response.”