Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Louth and East Meath Emma Coffey has accused Minister for Health Leo Varadkar of failing to get to grips with the escalating overcrowding crisis at the Emergency Department in Drogheda Hospital.
The Dáil candidate made the comments after the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) revealed that there are currently 46 patients stuck on trolleys at the hospital.
Ms Coffey commented, “I’ve been raising issues with overcrowding at Drogheda Hospital for months now, but the situation seems to be getting worse by the day. The INMO have released figures which show that 46 people are currently languishing on trolleys at the hospital. This is the highest figure in the entire country.
“Minister Varadkar has acknowledged that the current situation is unacceptable, but what is his Government doing to solve the crisis? The time has come for the Minister to roll-up his sleeves and sort out this mess. We have chronic underfunding in our hospitals which has led to the closure of wards. This means that hospital beds, which are ordinarily used to relieve Emergency Departments, are going unused. It’s ridiculous.
“I’m seriously concerned that the Emergency Department in Drogheda may be forced to go ‘off-call’ if this crisis persists. This will mean that much of Louth and East-Meath will be left without proper emergency healthcare coverage. Patients requiring emergency treatment will be forced to travel to Dublin hospitals, which are also struggling to cope with demand.
“People’s lives are at stake here. The Minister is busy giving media interviews about how this is a legacy problem, but when asked what he is doing to resolve the crisis he has little to say. Fine Gael and Labour are allowing a situation of continuous chaos to persist in our hospitals.”