Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill says his party has put forward a series of measures which would ease the hospital trolley crisis and restore confidence in our health system.

The party used its Private Members Time in the Dáil this week to debate the measures needed to address Emergency Department overcrowding.

Deputy Cahill said, “The level of hospital overcrowding has gone beyond unacceptable levels. Earlier this month there were 40 people on trolleys on one day at South Tipperary General Hospital; with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation describing it as “a hospital in crisis”. Fine Gael has overseen the deterioration of our health service over the past eight years and now urgent action is needed to bring it back from the brink.

“There has been very little leadership from the government or the HSE, with Minister Harris lurching from one crisis to the next. The fact the HSE winter plan was launched in mid-November tells us all we need to know about the preparedness for the coming months.

“They say that a ship that sets sail without a destination, is destined to drift and ultimately flounder. Unfortunately, it appears as if this is where Fine Gael is taking our health service…. on one long, tortuous journey with no destination in sight.

“Fianna Fáil has put forward concrete proposals about how best to get the health system back on track and ease the overcrowding crisis.

“GPs need to be properly funded so that people can be treated in their community instead of Emergency Departments. We also need to increase capacity in our Emergency Departments; this can be done by increasing staffing, ending the hiring embargo, eliminating consultant pay inequality and providing better diagnostic access. WE should also be freeing up hospital beds by funding home care packages and providing additional beds.

“These are positive actions which can have a benefit to frontline services in Emergency Departments and I am urging the government to take these measures on board”, concluded Deputy Cahill.