Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has said he is extremely concerned about the warnings from a group of emergency doctors today that patient safety is in danger as a result of overcrowding in A&E departments.

Deputy Kelleher said: “I welcome the honesty and the openness from the doctors in this case.  They have sounded very clear warnings about patient safety and I hope it shines a light on the scale of the difficulty facing frontline health workers and hospital management.  However there is a sense of utter denial on the part of the Minister for Health about the extent of the crisis.

“The letter from the Irish Emergency Medicine Trainees Association to HIQA raises huge questions that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.  The comment that the recommendations of the HIQA report into Tallaght Hospital (May 2012) are being ignored by senior hospital management is very worrying.

“Not alone has Minister Reilly failed to acknowledge the difficulties being experienced with overcrowding in emergency departments he has actually claimed this has been area of success in the health service.  There are almost 400 patients waiting on trolleys in hospitals around the country today and many of these are frail elderly people in need of hospital admission.

“Minister Reilly needs to sit up and take notice.  We need to see more beds open to deal alleviate the pressure on our A&Es at the moment.  The Minister needs to listen to the doctors and nurses on the frontline working under extraordinary pressure to take care of patients and ensure safety is not compromised.”