Deputy Pearse Doherty has again clashed with the Government over what he is branding the ‘manipulation’ of trolley figures at Letterkenny University Hospital in an attempt to downplay the overcrowding crisis.
The Donegal TD was reacting to a statement from the Minister for Health in reply to a Dáil Question in which he was asked to give the government’s views on overcrowding at LUH.
In his answer, the Minister claimed that as of the end of October last, the number of patients on trolleys at the hospital’s Emergency Department was 2,570, an increase of over 28 per cent from the year previous.
However, Deputy Doherty says that the numbers quoted by the Minister are grossly understated and has pointed to the overcrowding data compiled by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation which has recorded the number of patients who’ve had to wait on trolleys at both the hospital’s Emergency Department and Inpatient Wards between January and October to have reached 4,251.
Deputy Doherty accused the Government of massaging the figures.
“Last week in the Dáil is again raised the deplorable issue of Overcrowding with the Minister for Health and asked him to give his views on the unacceptable high number of patients who have been forced to wait on trolleys due to lack of bed capacity at LUH throughout 2018.
“In his reply, the Minister began by firstly stating the obvious when he acknowledged that 2018 had been a challenging year for the hospital and its frontline staff with demand for unscheduled care, particularly among the over 75 age group due to the pro-longed flu season, having been very high.
“However, he went on to claim that by the end of October 2018, Emergency Department attendances at LUH were up by 4.6 per cent compared to the same period last year, before stating that the cumulative count of patients waiting on trolleys at the hospital had been 2,570.
“Yet, when we compare the Minister’s figures to those compiled by the INMO as part of its yearly Trolley Watch Campaign and which gives a more whole picture of hospital overcrowding, we see that the number of patients recorded as having spent time of trolleys and chairs between January and October to have actually been 4,251 – that’s a difference of 1,681 patients or, in percentage terms, a difference of 50 per cent.
“The Minister is clearly trying to manipulate the figures and he and his government are doing their best to downplay what has become a perpetual and ever worsening crisis at the hospital.
“And, despite his efforts to massage these deplorable and absolutely shocking figures, no amount of spin can hide the fact that overcrowding at the hospital has brought the service to a breaking point.
“And yet while overcrowding continues to inflict misery on patients and staff at LUH, the Government continues to drip feed information about what measures it is putting in place to address this crisis.
“One only has to look at the announcement made over recent days that only half of the beds at the hospital’s Short Stay Ward will be opened early next year, despite a campaign from my colleagues in Sinn Féin and I who have repeatedly urged the facility to be fully reopened without delay.”Tags: