Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Heath, Billy Kelleher has warned that worse is to come unless Minister Harris deals with the root causes of the escalating trolley crisis
Deputy Kelleher was commenting after data released by the INMO shows that the crisis permeating the health system that leaves hundreds of people every day lying on trolleys is getting worse, and not better, despite Minister Harris’ protestations over the past 12 months.
“While limited progress was made between 2015 and 2016, it has been completed wiped away over the past 12 months.
“A 21% increase over 12 months is simply not acceptable. This comes in spite of Minister Harris’s much hyped Winter Initiative which has done little to reduce the number of sick people lying on unsuitable trolleys as a result of there being no capacity on our hospital wards.
“Since when did 300 people lying on trolleys every day become acceptable? Unfortunately, the media only get excited when it approaches 600. What’s worse is that I suspect Minister Harris’ only flinches when it closes in on 700.
“Minister Harris must come forward with realistic, funded proposals to increase the number of beds, in the short term, in our public hospitals.
“He must also accept that utilising the existing community hospitals around the country to care for non-acute patients is desperately required, and that whatever roadblocks that have been put in front of these proposals in the past must be overcome.
“Over the month of June, we saw daily reports of between 300 and 350 people on trolleys across the country. From the end of August, these figures will start to increase until we the middle of winter when the figure will be closer to 650.
“Unless action takes place over the summer and autumn, we will be back to square one again with Minister Harris wringing his hands in despair and saying that next year will be better.
“The Minister has been in office for over 12 months and is now approaching his second winter. The health system cannot cope with any further escalation in the number of people on trolleys. It’s at breaking point, and it urgently needs a Minister for Health that comes to the table with solutions and not empty gestures,” concluded Kelleher.