Fianna Fáil has today said that the recommendations of the Tallaght Hospital Report have implications for hospitals across the country, and has called on Fine Gael and Labour to ensure that all necessary resources are made available to ensure that patient safety is not compromised.

Health spokesperson Billy Kelleher said: “A year after the intolerable risks to patients were first identified and this Government has not heeded the lessons of the tragic case of Thomas Walsh.  26,106 patients were waiting on trolleys in the first four months of this year.  Today’s report, which shows that some patients were waiting in Tallaght A&E for up to 140 hours, shows the scale of the crisis.”

“The report also highlights that the “cultural belief” that the routine practice of accommodating patients on trolleys in corridors is acceptable is “not satisfactory for patients and the public and should cease.”

“Just last week, we learned that some hospitals are being forced into a situation where they’re trying to hide the extent of their overcrowding by placing patients on trolleys in inpatient wards.  This could only be happening on foot of extraordinary pressure on management to keep the figures down.  This is compromising patient safety and must be stopped before there is another tragedy.

Questioning Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore in the Dáil today, Fianna Fáil’s Charlie McConalogue asked him whether a plan would be prepared to ensure the mess in Tallaght was not repeated elsewhere: “HIQA has raised “serious concerns” regarding governance, quality of care and patient safety and how these are being managed nationwide.   If there is a ban on patients being kept on trolleys in corridors and A&E departments this will automatically result in extra nurses and other staff being required to care safely for these patients.

“The key question is whether the government has a plan to ensure that our A&E Departments are made safer for patients and that there will be extra investment made to allow this.”

Deputy McConalogue concluded: “The Report also highlights the failure of the HSE and the Hospital to deal with serious governance issues at the hospital.  The Minister must ensure the any “ambiguity” as to who has overall executive accountability for the quality and safety of the services delivered is removed at once.”