Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East Anne Rabbitte says the current trolley crisis at University Hospital Galway is unacceptable and unsustainable.  Today the number of people waiting in the Emergency Department of UHG peaked at 48.

Deputy Rabbitte commented, “The crisis at Galway’s Emergency Department has hit dangerously high levels and I am extremely concerned about the pressure on staff and the care that patients are receiving.  This situation has been building over the past number of years, but the figures today are extremely worrying.

“The fact of the matter is the ED in UHG is unfit for purpose.  Fine Gael completely neglected the department for five years, and only gave commitments to secure money for a new building ahead of the General Election campaign.  It is essential that they follow through on their promise and ensure that the construction of a new department proceeds without delay.

“It is simply impossible for patients and staff to be subjected to these conditions.  There is no dignity, no comfort and no peace of mind for people who have to attend the ED.  I am very worried that the situation will escalate further over the coming months.  We are not even in the middle of winter and the ED is already at breaking point.  What will happen if there is a cold snap?  Or a bad flu? Or some other contagious infection outbreak?

“Despite his own spin, the Health Minister’s Winter Initiative isn’t working.  With 48 people on trolleys, the situation at UHG is one of the worst in the country.  Nationally the figure has hit 541.  The €40m allocated to the initiative was clearly not enough and I am urging Minister Harris and his Department to provide the necessary resources to effectively address this crisis and ensure that patients get the care and treatment they deserve”.