Fianna Fáil General Election candidate Cllr. Eamon Scanlon says the Health Minister’s hands-off approach to the Emergency Department crisis is seriously compromising patient safety and eroding staff morale.  Last week we saw a situation where 9 ambulances were queued up outside the ED because beds were not available in the unit to take all the cases.

Cllr. Scanlon explained, “Overcrowding in the Emergency Department of Sligo Regional Hospital has become the norm, and that is wholly unacceptable.  Over the past few months hundreds of people have been treated on hospital trolleys, in chairs and in corridors without any privacy or dignity.  This is simply not good enough.  This practice is being replicated in hospitals right across the country, whereby it has reached the stage that people are no longer shocked by the conditions in which sick, frail and elderly patients are being treated.

“We had a situation last week where 9 ambulances were queued up outside the Emergency Department of the hospital because there were no beds for the patients in the unit.  More than 50 beds have been closed by Fine Gael and Labour over the past five years.  Only 14 beds were opened to deal with winter capacity – far short of what is needed to cope with demand.  This Government short sighted measures and bogus budgets have led us to where we are.  The increased demand during the winter months should not come as a surprise, however the Health Minister has failed to allocate the resources needed to ensure that this demand is met.

“Nurses and doctors at the hospital are at the end of their tether.  They are struggling to provide a decent quality of healthcare under the conditions they are working in.  Staff have expressed serious concerns for patient safety on numerous occasions but the Health Minister and the Government are not listening.  Minister Varadkar spends his time observing and commenting on the health crisis rather than tackling it.  He seems oblivious to the fact that it is his job to take charge of the situation and find workable solutions that guarantee patient safety and relieve the excessive pressure that staff are under.

“What will it take for the Minister to realise the gravity of the situation?  We cannot afford to sit back and do nothing while our hospital services creep closer to breaking point?  We need urgent action, we need extra beds and staff for Sligo and we need realistic budgets to ensure a safe, dignified, efficient service for patients in the North West”.