Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher TD says the health service is facing into months of chaos unless radical action is taken to relieve the pressure on our hospital system. The latest figures from Minister Kathleen Lynch reveal the number of older people waiting for a place on the Fair Deal scheme has risen again, thereby increasing the burden on hospitals across the country.
Deputy Kelleher commented, “The Fair Deal delays, which we were told were easing, have begun increasing again. The number of older people waiting for a place on the scheme rose to 1,415 on the 13thFebruary, up from 1,332 only two weeks previously. The average wait time is almost three months. Despite continued warnings over the past year about the need for additional resources for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, the Minister failed to provide adequate funding to relieve the situation, and as a result services right across the health system are being severely impacted.
“The overcrowding crisis, which was predicted before Christmas, and which reached record levels in January, is showing no signs of easing, with the latest figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation revealing that there were 452 people on trolleys in Emergency Departments across the country this morning. This in turn is having a knock-on effect on other services, with hospital management being forced to cancel surgery for weeks, and in some cases months, on end.
“Patients attending our hospitals are being met with intolerable conditions. Frontline staff are going above and beyond the call of duty, working in unacceptable environments under immense pressure. Both the Taoiseach and the previous Health Minister James Reilly made promises to end the trolley crisis, but four years into the job, the situation is worse than ever before.
“Despite commitments by Minister Leo Varadkar, he has failed to bring in any tangible measures to ease the crisis. Additional hospital beds and frontline staff need to be rolled out immediately, and not on an ad hoc basis. Unless urgent action is taken, the crisis will spread to all hospital departments and the system could be facing meltdown.”