Government cuts have compounded overcrowding crisis – McLellan
Sinn Féin TD for Cork East Sandra McLellan spoke out today against the government cuts which have led to the hospital overcrowding crisis.
Speaking today during Private Member Business in the Dáil on the unacceptable overcrowding of emergency departments, Deputy McLellan highlighted the extent of the crisis, which has been compounded by cuts in nursing staff under the Government.
Deputy McLellan said:
“It’s undisputable that cuts implemented by this government as part of its austerity programme are compounding the current overcrowding levels. There are other issues at play here as well.
“The fact is there’s been a 9.4% decrease in nursing staff since March 2011 under the current Fine Gael/ Labour Government. This doesn’t take into account the cuts made previously under Fianna Fáil.
“Was a result of the current crisis, some of those who have been waiting for many months or indeed years for surgery, have now had their hopes dashed and their procedures cancelled. These patients must be remembered and everything must be done to ensure they are catered for as soon as possible.
“We know there are massive waiting lists at the moment, which will only be extended due to the crisis.
“The reality is that:
· One in every eight patients on a hospital waiting list is in a queue for over a year
· Some people are waiting up to four years to see a consultant
· Nearly 50,000 patients (including 2,891 children) are waiting more than a year on
lists, despite this Government’s previous commitments that nobody would be on a
waiting list for more than 12 months.
· There is a 400% increase in the numbers on outpatient lists since January according
to HSE Performance Indicators that were published last November.
“Dr Stephen Thomas of Trinity College’s centre for health policy and management recently said in response to the November HSE Performance Indicators, that this country has seen “the biggest proportionate drop in healthcare across Europe” and that “we’ve lost almost 20% of our health funding, and certainly about 11-12% of our staff.”
“Sinn Féin has long proposed a lifting of the recruitment embargo. We would initially prioritise the recruitment of front line workers and allocate an additional €6.67 million to increase emergency ambulance cover. Providing two additional ambulances including personnel for each of the four regions would ease some of the pressure on the ambulance service and in turn A&Es.”