Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue says today’s record trolley figures are a damning indictment of Fine Gael’s failure to tackle the overcrowding crisis in the health service.
New figures made available by the Irish Nurses Midwives Organisation (INMO) show that there were 26 patients stuck on trolleys at Letterkenny University Hospital this morning as the health service struggles to cope with the additional demand placed on it following an outbreak of influenza.
Yesterday, a staggering 656 patients awaited admission in Emergency Departments across Ireland. This has today risen to 677.
Deputy McConalogue said: “Despite assurances from Fine Gael that this year’s winter initiative would be able to deal with the expected increase in pressure on our health system, the reality is that the plan is failing miserably.
“This is clearly evident when you examine the figures made available by the INMO.
“In 2016 a total of 2,047 people were treated on trolleys at LUH, this figure more than doubled in the space of a year, with 4,889 patients on trolleys in 2017.
“The Government’s mismanagement of this issue is now being blatantly exposed.
“In 2011 Fine Gael vowed to bring an end to the overcrowding crisis. However 7 years later the problem is worse than ever with record breaking numbers of patients languishing on trolleys across the country. This has been a persistent problem but Fine Gael has simply failed to take the necessary steps to tackle the overcrowding crisis.
“I have been calling on the Health Minister to sanction funding for the reopening of a short-stay ward at LUH but have received no commitment on the issue.
“If more beds were open in Letterkenny, and in hospitals around the country, we would not be witnessing the scandalous situation which is unfolding this week.
“According to the most recent figures, Ireland had one of the lowest number of acute hospital beds in the OECD at 2.4% per 1,000 population compared with the OECD average of 3.6% per 1,000 in 2015.
“We need to see an increase in the number of beds in the health service, this is the only way the overcrowding crisis will be tackled in the long run, and I will be continuing to demand the approval of funding for the short stay ward at LUH until the Minister wakes up to the seriousness of the situation here”.