Fianna Fáil Senator Thomas Byrne has criticised Minister Leo Varadkar for allowing conditions to deteriorate considerably at the Emergency Department of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.
Senator Byrne made the comments after it was revealed that an elderly man with cancer was forced to spend five days on a hospital trolley in Drogheda. It follows the news that overcrowding in Emergency Departments increased by 40% in the year to August.
“The trolley crisis at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda has been escalating throughout the year. In June a total of 728 people were stuck on trolleys for an extended period of time, which represented a surge of 243% since 2013. Judging by the latest reports it is clear that the crisis is continuing to escalate” said Senator Byrne.
“The revelation that an elderly man with cancer was left stuck on a trolley for five days is disturbing. Is this the best that the state can offer in terms of compassionate and care for our older people? The chaotic scenes at the Emergency Department are putting people with genuine medical needs off the idea of attending hospital. They are afraid that they too will be waiting on a hospital trolley for days on end.
“Minister for Health Leo Varadkar is great at talking about solving the overcrowding crisis in our Emergency Departments, but what actual action is he talking to resolve the problem? The conditions in Emergency Departments across the country are deteriorating due to overcrowding. Despite this the Minister is continuing to sit on the side-lines issuing his commentary rather than taking steps to resolve a growing emergency.
“I am worried that the crisis in Drogheda will escalate during the winter months. Summer is traditionally meant to be the quietest time of year for Emergency Departments in hospitals. Last January Minister Varadkar assured us that the growing number of people stuck on trolleys was just a seasonal issue that would be resolved by the summer. In fact the situation has only got worse since then.
“The Government needs to take immediate steps to make our hospitals ‘winter ready’. I fear that this crisis will only escalate as the winter months set in unless the Government takes immediate steps to adequately resource Emergency Departments and relieve the pressure on frontline staff” said Senator Byrne.