Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow Stephen Donnelly says he is astonished to learn that a large number of hospital beds are closed at St. Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown at a time when the health service is facing into an overcrowding crisis.

Deputy Donnelly made the comments after obtaining new information which shows that 12 hospital beds at St. Columcille’s are closed. 10 of the beds are out of action due to staff shortages while a further two are closed for infection control purposes.

Deputy Donnelly said, “It’s mind-boggling that hospital beds are closed as we face into an overcrowding crisis in our health service. Closing hospital beds for infection control is necessary and understandable, but doing so due to staff shortages is inexcusable and clearly demonstrates that there is a problem with resource management in our health system.

“The INMO confirmed just yesterday that record levels of overcrowding are continuing in our health service. 82,459 people were stuck on trolleys, in Emergency Departments or Wards, in first 10 months of 2017. This problem is being exacerbated by the fact that nearly 200 hospital beds across the country are closed, many due to staff shortages which is avoidable with proper resource management.

“This Government must finalise and publish the Bed Capacity Review, and outline its plan to reduce the number of closed beds. For as long as there are sick people lying on trollies in our Emergency Departments, there can be no acceptance for unnecessary bed closures. It’s immoral and it must be dealt with as a priority.”