Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Health Billy Kelleher has said the Governments health strategy is in complete disarray as details emerged of a 101-year-old woman having to endure 26 hours on a trolley in the Emergency Department at Tallaght Hospital.

Deputy Kelleher says the incident is a damming indictment of Minister Varadkar’s approach to dealing with the long running overcrowding crisis in EDs across the country.

“The latest revelation that a 101-year-old woman was left waiting on a trolley for 26 hours is the clearest example yet of Minister Varadkar’s failure to get to grips with the overcrowding crisis in our hospitals” said Deputy Kelleher.

“Dr James Gray, a prominent consultant in emergency medicine at Tallaght Hospital, says the elderly woman was in effect subject to “torture” during her ordeal. The vulnerable woman was denied the respect, privacy and dignity that she deserves. Minister Varadkar should be hanging his head in shame over this crisis.

The lethargic and hands off approach that Minister Varadkar has taken to date in dealing with the overcrowding crisis is shameful. I have been highlighting this issue for months now along with organisations such as the INMO and IMO. Senior consultants working in the units have been queuing up to highlight the deplorable patient conditions that are now unfortunately all too common in our EDs.

“Despite this Minister Varadkar has refused to take decisive action to resolve the overcrowding crisis. In the meantime more and more people are being subjected to the appalling conditions associated with over stretched and under resourced EDs units. During the winter months Minister Varadkar spent more time trying to reassure us that the overcrowding crisis was a temporary blip rather than actually applying the necessary resources to resolve the issue.

“We are now into the first week of June and there are still over 400 people stuck on trolleys, and the crisis is showing little time of abating. The Minister’s failure to take concrete action has resulted in this appalling situation” said Deputy Kelleher.