Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Health, Billy Kelleher TD has said that Minister Harris has less than a week to ensure that the emerging trolley crisis in our hospitals doesn’t escalate into a national emergency.

Today’s figures from the IMNO are a startling reminder about how close our hospital system is to collapsing under the strain of increased patient numbers.

“528 people across the country were lying on hospital trolleys in emergency departments or in corridors.”

“This is the first time since March 2016 when this figure has rocketed past the alarm-bell ringing 500 threshold.”

“New blackspots are appearing in addition to hospitals that are known to face overcrowding crises every year. Letterkenny General Hospital has reported 45 patients on trollies which matches Cork University Hospital’s figure.”

“Minister Harris announced the Winter Initiative a number of months ago. €50 million was allocated, but now is the time to see progress.”

“As winter sets in, these numbers are likely to rise, rather than fall, and the Minister, and his officials, needs to have a better strategy than was previously seen in recent years.”

“Investing in primary care, providing increased home care packages to help free up beds in acute settings, and ensuring that the National Treatment Purchase Fund is back up and running at full capacity as quickly as possible must be the long term vision of the HSE, so that we can stop firefighting year on year on this issue.”

“We need to see much more creative and challenging thinking on how to deliver good quality and reliable health services,” concluded Kelleher.