Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher TD has called on Minister Simon Harris to immediately clarify the situation regarding the provision of life support care in hospitals.

Deputy Kelleher made the comments following reports from senior doctors that life support care is now being rationed in hospitals, forcing staff to make ‘life or death’ decisions. The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson says Minister Harris must appear before the Oireachtas Health Committee to explain the situation.

Deputy Kelleher said, “Today’s media reports make for sombre and shocking reading. Senior doctors have outlined how they are forced to ration life support care on a regular basis, with some patients missing out on the care they are entitled to due to a shortage of beds in our hospitals.

“No doctor should have to be placed in a situation where they have to determine whether a patient lives or dies due to the need to ration care. This is a situation that you would expect to arise in a war-torn country or following a major disaster. However, it now transpires that such a scene is unfolding in hospitals right around Ireland. It is a national shame, and is the darkest reflection yet of Fine Gael’s failure to come to terms with the crisis facing our health service.

“There is clearly a shortage of beds in our hospitals which is having a detrimental impact on the provision of life support care. Fianna Fáil has been highlighting this for the past seven years. We have consistently said that without the provision of more beds in hospitals, and the recruitment of additional staff to operate them, that citizens would be denied their right to access healthcare. Unfortunately, it now seems that this situation has become a reality.

“Fine Gael is failing to deliver the measures necessary to ensure our hospitals can cope with demands all year-round. They have been fixated on trying to ‘achieve efficiencies’ in the health service rather than providing solutions.

“Ireland has an ageing population and the demand on our health service will only increase in the years ahead. The Bed Capacity Review itself recognises that at least an additional 2,500 beds will be needed by 2030.

“Simon Harris needs to immediately clarify the situation in our hospitals regarding the provision of intensive care support. I will be writing to the Chairman of the Oireachtas Health Committee to request an urgent meeting to examine these disturbing reports,” concluded Deputy Kelleher.