Fianna Fáil Health spokesman Billy Kelleher has expressed concern following reports that HIQA has no resources to carry out important hygiene checks at hospitals around the country, describing it as extremely serious given the overcrowding at many hospitals.
Deputy Kelleher said: “I accept the position that HIQA has adopted in terms of prioritising the work that it is tasked with doing. However the Minister is on the record in the Dáil as being extremely concerned about hygiene in our hospitals and the need for a ‘proactive’ approach to this issue.
“The main concern people will have upon hearing about this is that our hospitals are very overcrowded at the moment and as this is likely to increase through the winter.
“The INMO report today shows that 6,600 people were waiting on trolleys in hospitals last month, an increase of 35% on same month last year. This is extremely worrying for patients and their families.”
“I am calling on the Minister, who has taken personal responsibility for the running of our health service, to proactively engage with the frontline workers, HIQA and HSE and hospital managers to deal with the overcrowding issue. The Minister should also be seeking to provide additional resources to HIQA to ensure they can resume checking on the hygiene standards in our hospitals.
“It is not acceptable for the Minister to fire the expert board of the HSE and refuse to take a hands-on approach to two of the most serious issues facing the health service. Overcrowding and hygiene are very much linked in a hospital setting and both must be tackled.”