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Emergency Department overcrowding for children “intolerable”

22 February, 2012 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

“HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster Plan another recipe for patient misery” – Ó Caoláin

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said the situation in emergency departments in children’s hospitals as highlighted by the Irish Association of Emergency Medicine is “intolerable” and points to the on-going crisis in public health services that will be deepened by the retirement of 4,200 staff and the cuts in the HSE Regional Plans, the latest being the Dublin Mid-Leinster Plan.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“It is absolutely intolerable that children are waiting up to 12 hours on trolleys in emergency departments in our children’s hospitals. The Irish Association of Emergency Medicine has described the overcrowding in some hospitals as reaching historically high levels. And this is before the final departure of 4,200 staff from our health services by the end of February and the full implementation of the cuts for 2012.

“This on-going crisis will be deepened as the HSE Regional Plans are implemented. The latest of these, the Dublin Mid-Leinster Plan, imposes €125 million in cuts, a very significant drop of 6% in hospital activity levels and cuts across services for older people, disability, mental health, children and families. It is of concern also that the HSE has stated that school immunisation programmes will be ‘dependent on available resources’ and will be challenging in 2012.

“The Dublin Mid-Leinster Service Plan admits that ‘the single biggest risk we face in 2012 is lack of capacity to meet real health and personal social services needs in the face of reduced funding and availability of staff’ and the ‘on-going impact of the moratorium, of retirement levels associated with the ‘end of grace’ period of 29 February 2012, together with loss of staff generally impacting on front line service delivery’.

“This frank admission contrasts with the constant assurances of Health Minister James Reilly that contingency plans are in place and that front-line services will not be adversely affected by the staff departures. It is long past time Minister Reilly lifted the recruitment moratorium.” ENDS

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