Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher has said that January 2018 has been one of the worst months on record for overcrowding, and that Minister Harris must come forward with a credible, costed and realistic plan to address, in the short term, citizens lying on trolleys in our Emergency Departments.
Deputy Kelleher was commenting after an analysis by him of the INMO trolley figures for the 22 days they reported on in January 2018.
“Across these 22 days, 12,316 people were left lying on trolleys instead of being put in a bed on a hospital ward. On average, every one of these days had 560 people languishing on trolleys.
“Last week, we saw the publication of the bed capacity review by Minister Harris. I said at the time that we need an urgent audit to identify quick wins over the next number of months to increase capacity before next winter.
“I don’t get a sense that the Minister sees this as a priority. He must surely realise that to deliver new acute hospital beds from scratch takes a lot of time; and that’s before we even consider a new purpose built acute hospital which will be required to deliver the 2,600 beds as per the bed review.
“People are sick and tired of excuses from Minister Harris and Fine Gael on the poor state of the health service. They have had seven years in office, and at every turn, their attempts to improve the delivery of services have failed.
“The Minister needs to focus on this over the next number of months and not be totally distracted by other concerns.
“Now is the time to do the planning to address overcrowding next winter. Minister Harris is no longer the new boy in health – 18 months in, he still hasn’t realised that he is the Minister and it is he who is responsible to the Irish people for our hospitals,” concluded Kelleher.