Deputy Michael Lowry has condemned the Government and consecutive Health Ministers for a complete failure to grapple with the ongoing issues within the healthcare system, which have now left health services on the brink of collapse due to mammoth overcrowding.
Over the last almost four years there has been an exasperating lack of action by the Government, Deputy Lowry stated, culminating in the current crisis.
“While the Government distracted itself over the past four years with grandiose plans of Universal Health Care, this week we reached a record high of over 600 people on hospital trolleys.
“Given the drastic overcrowding elderly and unwell patients are being are forced to wait in frankly substandard and unsafe conditions, patient care is being seriously compromised despite the best efforts of the hardworking and dedicated staff, and the safety and well-being of staff is being jeopardised. The elderly and frail are not being treated with the dignity they deserve and staff are under enormous pressure and struggling with an unbearable workload.
“In October 2013 the then Minister for Health, James Reilly, promised that we would ‘never again see 569 people on trolleys in a single day while this Government is in office’. Instead of following through on his commitment, the Minister failed to take any meaningful action and this is yet another broken promise to add to the alarmingly long list.
“The bottom line is that this issue revolves around a lack of bed compliment and a drastic lack of frontline nursing staff. The 2000 closed beds must be made available, emergency recruitment commenced, the delays with the fair deal scheme need to be addressed to allow swift discharge to nursing homes, step down services need to be established and ultimately an emergency injection of resources is needed.
“The time to invest in healthcare is now. People deserve a properly functioning healthcare system rather than the substandard, under-resourced service that we have at present,” he said.