Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher TD has said the issue of overcrowding at Accident and Emergency departments is not improving despite election promises from Dr. James Reilly. There is chronic overcrowding at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, University College Hospital, Galway and others across the country.
Deputy Kelleher said: “Nurses at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick are taking industrial action for the second week running on Wednesday in an effort to highlight chronic overcrowding and what they believe are very serious patient safety concerns at the hospital. Minister, you told the INMO conference after you took office that you would value nurses and that you would listen to them. You’re not listening to them now.
“The INMO have said today that they will undertake four hours of industrial action from 8.30am tomorrow because of your inability to address the patient safety concerns of their members.
“Nurses are now being forced to take industrial action as the Minister has failed to take action to alleviate chronic overcrowding despite his promises”.
“There are major issues of patient safety, almost daily, arising and being reported hospitals around the country. This is not confined to Limerick. Galway is under extreme pressure following your decision to close the A&E department at Roscommon Hospital after cynically promising to protect it and upgrade it in the election campaign. Not to mention the legal tug-of-war between Tallaght and HIQA, which you seem to be staying as far as possible from.”
Speaking following the debate, Deputy Kelleher said: “It is a stunning indictment of this Government’s priorities that the Cabinet sub-committee on Health has not met once since the Government took office. Minister Reilly cannot hide behind the HSE anymore. He is the one who fired the expert Board of the HSE and took personal charge. But this action has come to nothing. Will we have to go to the UN to the see the Minister get the intervention needed? New York and China have had more face time with Minister Reilly than nurses on the frontline.
“The Minister must take his responsibility seriously and engage with frontline service providers and act on the very genuine concerns emanating from hospitals across the country.