Donegal Deputy Pearse Doherty has challenged the Minister for Health, Simon Harris on what he called ‘the government’s failures regarding the health service.’
His comments come after it was revealed that 1,108 people were on hospital trollies without beds in Letterkenny University Hospital last month.
Deputy Doherty said “Last month, 1,108 patients at Letterkenny University Hospital languished on hospital trollies without beds.
“When Fine Gael took office back in 2011 there were 81 patients without access to LUH in November, last month it was 1,108. That’s a disgraceful figure and shows how out of control the health service has become under the watch of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.”
The Sinn Fein TD said this level of overcrowding is not only dangerous for patients but also staff.
He added “Yesterday, LUH announced it was cancelling elective surgeries due to pressure on bed availability. Patients and hospital staff deserve better.
“We listened to our local radio station where a mother, Tanya, spoke about her son Oisín who has cerebral palsy. They waited for 32 hours in the hospital without receiving a bed. Eventually, so tired and distressed at seeing her son distressed, she took him home only to be told later that he had pneumonia.
“But she wouldn’t risk going back to that hospital because it’s over capacity and under serious stress.
“She only had praise for the doctors and nurses who are run off their feet.
“That story of Tanya and Oisín is all too familiar to us in Donegal and elsewhere. The overcrowding has created conditions that have deepened a recruitment and retention crisis. This vicious cycle needs to be addressed.”
Deputy Doherty said the government’s housing failure has now seeped into every corner of our public services including our hospitals.
He added “The reality is that not only in Dublin but in rural parts of Donegal this is an issue in terms of recruitment and retention.
“We see that in a recent survey by the INMO that 2 out of 3 nursing graduates are considering emigrating. Our nurses deserve better than this. They deserve safe working conditions and an affordable place to live.
“We talked earlier about how the Minister for Housing is failing. But 1,108 people in hospital waiting for a bed in LUH last month is a failure. You need to get your act together on behalf of all the Tanyas and Oisíns who had to turn away after waiting 32 hours in a hospital because they couldn’t even get a bed.”