FIANNA Fáil spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has called for the Oireachtas Committee on Health to be reconvened this week to discuss the ongoing overcrowding crisis at the country’s hospital emergency departments.
Figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, published this week, revealed there were more than 600 people on trolleys in hospital A&Es – the highest number recorded since ‘TrolleyWatch’ began ten years ago.
Mr Kelleher said that these figures from the INMO are further evidence of the escalating crisis in our emergency departments, which shows no signs of abating and is raising serious concerns about patient safety: ‘Hundreds of patients, many of them who are elderly and frail, are being left for days on end on trolleys in A&Es, corridors and makeshift wards without privacy or dignity, as frontline staff struggle to cope without the necessary resources or support.
‘The HSE itself has admitted that the crisis is raising concerns over patient safety, but Minister Leo Varadkar has remained worryingly silent on the issue. ‘I am calling on the chairman of the Oireachtas Health Committee to urgently convene a meeting to discuss the crisis which is engulfing every emergency department in the country and putting patients at risk. Minister Varadkar must be brought before the committee to outline how he and HSE management propose to resolve the issues.
‘I have grave concerns that while the crisis is breaking all previous records, it may deepen further over the coming weeks as we see the traditional spike in hospital attendance increase during the winter period’.
Mr Kelleher concluded: ‘While I acknowledge that we need long-term measures to effectively tackle and manage problems within our A&Es, more investment is needed in the short term to deal with the current and escalating crisis. In view of the Taskforce chair’s resignation, this (Oireachtas Committee) meeting is even more urgent’.