Government policies have decimated Health Services – Ó Caoláin.

‘…563 patients are being cared for on trolleys across the country.’

Sligo News File Online.

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said that hospital overcrowding, A&E shutdowns and record numbers on trolleys show that “Fine Gael and Labour policies have decimated the Health Services”.

Caoimghlin O'Caolain, TD, Sinn Fein.
Caoimghlin O’Caolain, TD, Sinn Fein.

Deputy Ó Caoláin reacted strongly to the highly concerning figures released by the INMO (Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation) that show that 563 patients are being cared for on trolleys across the country.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“There are 50 patients waiting for admission at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, 39 in St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny and 33 in Mullingar. These record high numbers follow a period in which we traditionally see lower numbers in hospitals for elective procedures. This does not bode well for 2015. There can be no doubt but that Fine Gael and Labour policies have decimated the Health Services.

“The measures announced in the Budget to ease pressure on A&Es have had little effect.  I again call for additional funding for step down beds and extra nursing home places. The Health Minister needs to act now to ensure that these figures don’t increase further with the expected increased demand on our Health Services.

 “I have been contacted by families dependent on the Midlands Regional Hospital in Mullingar where for three days in a row the HSE have asked patients not to attend A&E. Today sees 23 patients on trolleys and 10 extra patients on wards that were already at capacity levels. Patients have been told to not attend unless they are an ‘absolute emergency’. I ask how patients are supposed to be able to diagnose themselves and determine if they are an ‘absolute emergency’. Issues of safety of care, privacy, and dignity for those on trolleys have been raised with me as well as claims of poor adherence to normal washing standards due to an acute shortage of staff.

“The INMO has also called for the cancellation of all scheduled elective operations for two weeks. While this might grant a reprieve to the numbers on trolleys and to overstretched staff it will mean that those waiting for non-emergency but nonetheless essential surgery will have the date of their procedures pushed back. This will lead to a delay for those who, in many cases, have been waiting for months or years for procedures, many in pain and whose lives are in suspense.

“There is now also the prospect of industrial action. If this is to occur it will be due to nursing staff being forced into this course. This is not about personal gain. It is because nurses working on the frontline know the dangers that low staff numbers cause. They know that people cannot be appropriately treated with reduced levels of staff, with thousands of beds closed and with increasing population and patient demands. The Minister for Health must act urgently to address this developing crisis” concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin.