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Oireachtas briefed on Trolley and Overcrowding Crisis by Healthcare Unions and Frontline Healthcare Workers – O’Reilly

17 January, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD


This morning, the Oireachtas was briefed first hand on the scale of the trolley and overcrowding crisis in our Emergency Departments and Hospitals.

The briefing, organised by Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD, was attended by representatives and frontline healthcare workers from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA), and SIPTU.

Speaking after briefing, Teachta O’Reilly said:

“It was very important that TD, Senators, and political staff heard first-hand testimony of the trolley and overcrowding crisis by representatives and frontline healthcare workers from the INMO, IMO, IHCA, and SIPTU.

“Those who attended painted a bleak picture of the everyday situation for patients and staff alike.

“It is harrowing to hear of doctors and nurses having to ration beds for patients and trying to decide which emergency patient should get a bed first because there is a capacity crisis.

“There was unanimity at the briefing that all closed beds need to be immediately reopened and that we have to move to providing much increased capacity over the next number of years to deal with changing demographics.

“The workers in our health service are demoralised and facing burn out; we heard that first hand.

“The reasons for this are working conditions, facilities, supports, training opportunities, promotion opportunities, and pay.

“We also heard of the disgraceful intimidation of nurses in some hospitals as they try to record the number of patients on trolleys for the INMO Trolley Watch data.

“These nurses are being pressurised into submitting a lower figure for the number of patients on trolleys that the actual real figures. Such tactics are beyond disgraceful and this needs to be investigated as a matter of urgency.

“I am calling on Minister Simon Harris to investigate this and to address these claims first hand.

“There is a need now more than ever to listen to the representative bodies and frontline healthcare workers in order to directly target the issues which they raise as problematic for staff in our hospitals.

“The testimonies and briefings from those present were extremely powerful and have implored us to use our positions to agitate for serious change in the health service.

“I can assure health service workers and the public that Sinn Féin will hold this Government to account on their failure in health and continue to put forward practical and workable solutions as we did last night with our Private Members Business motion to address the trolley and overcrowding crisis.” 

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