Deputy Noel Coonan said this Government's failed health policy is putting patient safety at serious risk as record high numbers wait on trolleys in Limerick's Mid Western Regional Hospital and patients crowd hospital corridors waiting on treatment for the second day.
The local Fine Gael TD said this is the nail in the coffin proving that the Health Minister's reconfiguration process has totally dishonoured the people of North Tipperary and South Offaly.
Last Tuesday there were chaotic scenes as 51 patients waiting on trolleys in the Mid Western Regional Hospital. The following day, Wed,44 patients were on trolleys. Responding to this emergency, Deputy Coonan said our incompetent Government, and those who support it in North Tipperary, are putting budget limitations ahead of patient safety.
Deputy Coonan said: "In March 2006, Minister Mary Harney declared a National Emergency when there were 495 people on trolleys but she has been very silent over yesterday's crisis which saw 596, or an additional 100 people, on trolleys. The Minister and this Government has long proved itself inadequate and this is the nail in the coffin confirming that their health policy is completely defunct causing unfair pain and suffering to sick people and frontline staff."
The local Fine Gael TD said last Thursday: "The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has already said that Limerick Hospital has been under severe pressure since the commencement of reconfiguration of acute services in April 2009, and is presently experiencing gross overcrowding and huge strain on the provision of safe clinical care. I have been shouting this same point from the rooftops since the Government first started stripping services from Nenagh General Hospital. Both Deputies Lowry and Hoctor must be held accountable as they continuously back a system which causes hospital over-crowding, postponement of surgery and chronic bed shortages."
"I am supporting the INMO's call for the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to undertake an urgent review of the impact of the centralisation of all acute services into the MWRH Limerick without the required additional beds and processes to respond to the increased demand in activity. This issue is top priority for me and I will raise it with Government Ministers once the Dil reconvenes. I intend on grilling Health Minister Mary Harney on how she can justify such neglect," continued Deputy Coonan.
In contrast to the other political parties, Fine Gael has a competent FairCare policy where the money follows the patient and the patient is central. Fine Gael believes Ireland has the personnel with the ability and skills to care for our citizens when they fall ill and what we need is a new system with improved management and real leadership; something which Fine Gael can and will deliver. Deputy Coonan said this is one of many reasons why we need an election as soon as possible.