Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has said Health Minister James Reilly must act on the latest warnings from the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine about possible A&E closures this summer.
Deputy Kelleher said: “The association’s warnings of a ‘staffing meltdown’ and a ‘perfect storm’ facing emergency departments and the possibility of closures are extremely serious. I have secured a special Dáil debate on this issue today.
“We need to hear from Minister Reilly how the Government plans to manage the budget crisis in our hospitals through the summer months. The IAEM says that staff shortages are acute, are actually worsening and some A&E’s face possible closure in the weeks ahead. These warnings are coming from emergency medical staff working on the frontline and they must be taken seriously. I find it particularly alarming that the HSE does not give the impression of understanding the scale of the challenge next month.”
Deputy Kelleher said that it is vital to act now so that scenes similar to what HIQA reported in Limerick last week are not widespread across the country in July.
“There are reports of very serious conditions in emergency departments across the country. Not only is this causing distress for patients it is putting huge pressure on staff and budgets. Further bed closures and ward closures will only increase pressure on A&Es and I am genuinely concerned that this policy will be applied in the summer months to rein in spending.”