Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue says his party Leader has exposed this Government’s hypocrisy on Emergency Department overcrowding and highlighted the Taoiseach’s lack of action to tackle the issue.
Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin raised the issue of ED overcrowding at Letterkenny University Hospital with the Taoiseach in the Dáil this afternoon.
Deputy McConalogue explained, “Overcrowding has been a major issue at LUH over the past year, with the full capacity protocol being implemented a number of times. Last Wednesday the hospital had the highest number of patients on trolleys in the entire country, with 43 people waiting for a hospital bed.
“In April 2015, when Leo Varadkar was Health Minister he promised that no more than 70 people on trolleys for more than 9 hours by the end of that year. Almost three years later and we have hundreds of people on trolleys, some waiting for days for a bed. Instead of making progress on what should be a predictable annual event, the situation is actually getting worse and the government appears to have no plan to deal with it.
“I have been outlining my concerns about overcrowding at Letterkenny University Hospital for months. As far back as July, management at the hospital submitted a request for funding to re-open and staff a short stay ward to relieve pressure on the ED. Since then there has been no approval forthcoming from either the Minister or the HSE.
“The overcrowding situation will not be addressed until bed capacity is increased. Minister Harris is continuing to hide behind an unpublished report which outlines how many additional beds are needed to run a functioning health service – this is simply not good enough. We all know that more beds are essential – what we need is the political will to open them.
“This process should begin with the approval of funding for the reopening of the short stay ward in Letterkenny as a matter of urgency”.