21 January 2016, 9.25am
By Tom Collins
Anti Austerity Alliance Councillor Mick Barry this morning said “years of Government cutbacks” to the health service are ultimately responsible for this morning’s decision to cancel non-urgent elective procedures at Cork University Hospital (CUH).
Cllr Barry slammed Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch for standing over health cuts which have caused such crisis in emergency departments at CUH and throughout the state. (Deputy Lynch is a Junior Minister responsible for Mental Health, and is in the same constituency as Mick Barry – Cork North Central)
Cllr Barry said that Government cuts were to blame for the fiasco not the flu: “The number of people presenting with flu symptoms can be expected to spike in January and a strong, well-resourced health service should be equipped to deal with that. HSE spokespersons can trot out as many statistics as they like about the increase in the numbers presenting for treatment but it can’t hide the fact that Government cuts are ultimately responsible for this fiasco. A Government which invested properly in hospital beds and both attracted and retained nurses in the profession by paying them a good wage would not preside over fiascos of this kind.”
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin General Election Candidate County Councillor Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said:
“This is primarily a question of resources.While the management of the system is not irrelevant, fundamentally our frontline staff cannot produce miracles, they are clearly stretched beyond their abilities. This is clearly what has happened here in Cork today, there are too many patients to be seen and too few nurses and other medical professionals.
The health service had 2.9 billion euro worth of cuts between 2008 and 2015. The policy of cuts was initiated by the Fianna Fail/Green Party administration and carried over by the Fine Gael/Labour Party Government.
There were 42 patients on trolleys in CUH yesterday – the highest in the country apart from Limerick University Hospital (45). There were 536 patients on trolleys yesterday throughout the state.