Deputy Pearse Doherty has blasted the government over its failure to tackle the overcrowding crisis at Letterkenny University Hospital after figures reveal that a total of 2,814 patients spent time on trolleys, chairs and additional beds at the hospital in 2015.
Deputy Doherty says that the figures, which he has sourced through the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s ‘Trolley Watch’ register, prove that despite previous promises made by the Government that overcrowding was being addressed, the problem is still being ignored.
Deputy Doherty said “Just over a year ago now I highlighted the overcrowding problem at Letterkenny hospital with the Minister following last year’s huge surge in patient numbers presenting to Emergency Departments across the island which resulted in the worst ever overcrowding crisis at our acute public hospitals in the history of the state.
“During this Dáil Debate I raised my concerns with the Minister about the impact which overcrowding was having on patients’ welfare and I also urged the Minister to address the chronic understaffing of the hospital which was adding to the workload of existing staff at the facility.
“In his response the Minister stated at the time that a number of measures were being put in place to improve the situation at Letterkenny hospital including the revision and introduction of an updated patient flow escalation policy as well as a range of other measures to expedite patient flow throughout the hospital.
“In essence, the Minister exerted himself to reassure everyone that everything necessary was being done to ensure that overcrowding at the hospital was being addressed and that the situation was under control.
“And yet, despite all this talk, here we are over a year later and overcrowding at the hospital is still at crisis levels with 2,814 patients having spent time on trolleys, overflow beds and chairs at both the hospital’s In-patient wards and Emergency Department throughout 2015.”
The Sinn Fein Deputy added the overcrowding crisis is far from under control and by implementing as they have done some of the harshest cuts to the health services this government has created this chaos in our acute public hospitals.
“In reality, the Emergency Department at Letterkenny University Hospital must regularly deal with overcrowding for continuous periods and patient overcrowding is not confined to the unit as additional beds and trolleys are being inappropriately placed on what are already extremely busy hospital wards on an almost daily basis.
“My party colleague Deputy Pádraig MacLochlainn and I have repeatedly raised the issue of waste and under resourcing at the hospital with the Minister each year and yet our warnings continue to fall on deaf ears.
“In fact, since coming to power back in 2011, the amount of money spent on agency staff per annum at the hospital has more than doubled under Fine Gael and Labour as seen last year and yet patients are continuing to languish on trolleys in record numbers.
“I’m also fearful about how this crisis will impact on patient safety in the coming days and weeks as here we are only one week into 2016 and already an additional 27 patients have been added to the overcrowding figure since January 1st.”Tags: