Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher has expressed serious concern about the continuing overcrowding crisis in Irish hospitals. According to figures released today from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, 26,106 patients were waiting on trolleys in the first four months of this year.
The figures also showed that 2,402 beds are closed around the country, the majority of which are acute hospital beds.
“Patients are being put at risk every day due to Health Minister James Reilly’s inaction,” Deputy Kelleher said. “There are now a third more patients waiting on hospital trolleys now than in 2007. This massive number is simply unacceptable.”
“The figures revealed today show that Minister Reilly’s SDU is a smokescreen. Even though 2012 was the mildest Winter on record, there was almost the same number waiting on hospital trolleys as in 2010.
“Meanwhile, the figures show that two hospitals, Beaumont in Dublin and Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda, saw large jumps in those waiting on trolleys. Beaumont is up by 15% and Drogheda by 25% over the course of the year.
There has also been a dramatic increase in the number of people waiting for procedures as a result of the Government’s decision to scrap the National Treatment Purchase Fund last year, the Cork TD added: “The Minister recently revealed in a PQ response that the NTPF had funded 33,639 treatments in 2010. This fell to just 4,225 patients in the second half of 2011 as the Minister gutted the fund. “
Deputy Kelleher concluded: “Minister Reilly’s spin on trolleys is exposed by today’s figures. His decision to close hundreds of community hospital beds is resulting in further pressure on acute beds. The recent mass exodus of staff from the health service was utterly mismanaged and is resulting in pressures on every level. And the gutting of the NPRF has resulted in a surge of patients waiting longer for treatment.
“He should bring an end to his cut and spin policies and start taking action.”
Parliamentary Question & repsonse below:
QUESTION NO: 596
DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Dr. James Reilly)
by Deputy Billy Kelleher
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 01/05/2012
* To ask the Minister for Health the total number of patients, inclusive of in-patient, outpatient, radiological and day-cases, whose treatment was funded by the National Treatment Purchase Fund in 2010, the same figure for 2011, the number treated by it since July 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Billy Kelleher T.D.
In 2010 there were a total of 20,603 surgeries carried out which were funded by the National Treatment Purchase Fund, this figure includes both in-patients and daycase. There were 3,515 radiology treatments in 2010 and 9,521 outpatient treatments.
The figures for 2011 were 14,482 surgeries of which 3,775 were carried out between July and December, 1,784 radiology treatments of which 450 were between July and December, and 2,951 outpatient treatments.