HEALTH POLITICS: “Government must take responsibility for worst ever trolley figures at Cork University Hospital” – says new TD

3 January 2020
By Elaine Murphy

Cork University Hospital

Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central Padraig O’Sullivan says the Health Minister and his Cabinet colleagues must take responsibility for the shocking trolley figures being recorded in Cork hospitals.

According to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, there are 55 people on trolleys in Cork University Hospital today, with a further 18 in wards. The Mercy University Hospital has 29 people on trolleys awaiting admission.

Deputy O’Sullivan said, “Fine Gael’s time in government has resulted in the serious deterioration of our health services, with Emergency Departments bearing the brunt of its utter failure to introduce the necessary measures to improve conditions for patients and staff.

“Today’s trolley watch numbers mark a new low in this regard. Seventy-three people without a bed in CUH is an absolute disgrace. No matter what excuses Minister Harris may give, the situation is absolutely inexcusable. Not in the history of the State have we seen figures like this.

“We have seen the budget for health increase year on year and yet, the numbers of people on trolleys in our Emergency Departments are growing. It doesn’t add up – the government is completely mismanaging our health service.

“Patients are in pain and distress, and it is cruel to see so many older people being left on trolleys. The impact of this crisis is also taking its toll on our health workers – doctors, nurses and other frontline staff are being asked to work in inhumane conditions, doing their very best to treat people without the available beds, and often without timely access to diagnostics, operating theatres, resus rooms, and much more.

“We are well used to Minister Harris acknowledging the seriousness of the issues facing our hospitals, however he is not implementing the solutions which could turn it around. Those solutions are very straight forward but the government seems averse to putting them into action.

“We need to end new entrant pay inequality – not as part of some long drawn out negotiation, but now. End the hiring embargo for nurses and other healthcare professionals. Give GPs access to diagnostics. Open diagnostics in hospitals far longer than they are now. Increase home care packages so patients can be discharged.

“The status quo cannot be allowed to continue. It is unfair and inhumane. We deserve so much better than this”, concluded Deputy O’Sullivan.

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