Donegal Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has described the opening up of 199 temporary hospital beds to tackle the latest overcrowding crisis as “the equivalent of putting a sticking plaster over a gaping wound”.
Speaking today the Sinn Féin Senator said year on year the trolley crisis has deepened with recent days recorded as the worst days in the history of the state for hospital overcrowding with 760 patients on trolleys.
He said “In Letterkenny Hospital, the crisis continues with dozens of people waiting on in-patient beds and languishing on trolleys almost every day.
“The ten extra temporary beds for Letterkenny fall far short of what is needed to address overcrowding in the hospital as these 10 beds will be closed again by the end of March this year.
“Again, I am calling on the Minister for Health, Simon Harris to confirm when all of the beds in the Short Stay Ward that were closed down will be permanently reopened. Only half of the 19 beds there have been reinstated since the promises made by the Minister 15 months ago.
“This on its own would not end the beds crisis at the hospital but it would take considerable pressure off the struggling nurses, doctors and staff and reduce the numbers of our people waiting and waiting every day in the Emergency Department.”
He said the reality is that we also need more nurses and beds across Donegal’s eleven Community Hospitals.
He continued “The Health Minister and his Fine Gael cabinet colleagues know the hospital system needs at least 2,500 permanent extra beds if government is to meet its commitments under Sláintecare.
“There is an accepted consensus that the solution to the perpetual overcrowding crisis in our hospitals is more beds and more staff, and on both fronts Fine Gael are to be found wanting.
“If implemented Sinn Féin’s alternative budget would deliver an additional 500 permanent hospital beds in 2020 alone with the associated doctors and health professionals to service them.
“Instead Fine Gael continues to oversee a recruitment ban across the health service and refuses to open the permanent beds necessary to properly implement a health service winter plan.
“Fine Gael has had nine years in government to reform and modernise the public health system. Instead, their record is a litany of record overspends, demoralised and overworked staff, reduced capacity and reduced care and outcomes for patients.
“It doesn’t have to be this way.”Tags: