Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher has asked where Taoiseach Enda Kenny is as Health Minister Simon Harris proves himself incapable of dealing with the immediate, and current, hospital overcrowding crisis.  The Taoiseach has previously made much of his hands on approach to ensuring progress in the health system.

Deputy Kelleher was commenting following the release of the daily Trolley Watch figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation which showed 520 people were lying on trolleys this morning in Emergency Departments and hallways.

“I don’t make this call lightly. More than a fortnight ago, we heard from the Minister that he had a plan, and that it would work. Patients lying on trolleys would be hard pressed to see any evidence of Minister Harris’ promised improvements.

“Minister Harris must come before the Oireachtas and explain in detail, hospital by hospital, how he, his Department and the HSE are seeking to resolve the crisis.

“If additional funding is needed, over and above the existing 2017 health budget, the Minister needs to come to Dáil Éireann, and seek cross-party support for it, with the necessary detail.

“Fianna Fáil have made repeated calls for the opening up of additional step-down facilities that could be used to take the burden off of acute hospitals.

“The current crisis began in September 2016, and there is no sign of it ending. Blaming it on a flu outbreak belies a complete lack of planning and preparation by the Minister. This is simply not acceptable,” concluded Kelleher.