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Varadkar a “master of understatement” on hospital crisis – Adams

17 February, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has criticised Minister for Health Leo Varadkar as being a “master of understatement” in relation to the overcrowding crisis in hospitals.

Mr Adams raised the escalating crisis in the Dáil today with Taoiseach Enda Kenny where he said one of the Tallaght Report recommendations was being interpreted by the Minister for Health in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ style where words mean what the Government want them to mean.

Deputy Adams said:

“Once again, there were 551 of our citizens languishing on hospital trolleys this morning. Thirty-two of these were in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda which has consistently had among the highest numbers for patients on trolleys.”

“In 2011, when the present Government took office, there were 10,000 patients waiting longer than six months for ‘elective care’. Last month there were 24,369.”

“My constituency office has been inundated with people who are waiting for unacceptable periods for procedures. One man, Peter McDonnell from Drogheda, has been waiting over two years for surgery. Lily McDonnell is awaiting an urgent surgical appointment for the removal of a growth on her face.”

“Apart from those 24,369 patients who can’t get surgical appointments within a reasonable time, there are citizens who can’t be discharged because the Government won’t provide the level of care in the home that they deserve.”

“Minister for Health Minister Leo Varadkar says that the Government’s response “hasn't been enough”. The Minister is a master of understatement. But the issues remain - patients on trolleys, citizens without Homecare Packages, elective surgeries cancelled.”

“Meanwhile, last year the Government paid €7.5 billion in debt interest, including private banking debt. There is a clear link between the hospital overcrowding crisis and the pursuit of such wasteful and unjust austerity policies.”

“Twicein the last month I raised with the Taoiseach a letter from HIQA which says that if a list of recommendations it made in 2012 had been implemented, the risks to patients would have been ‘significantly reduced’.The Taoiseach has yet to respond adequately to me on this.”

“One of the recommendations of the Tallaght Report says: ‘Every hospital should cease the use of any inappropriate space (for example a hospital corridor or a parking area for trolleys) to accommodate patients receiving clinical care’.”

“The Minister’s response to this is that ‘The Special Delivery Unit (SDU) has developed a standardised definition of an inappropriate space, and accommodation of patients in inappropriate spaces is monitored by both the HSE and IMNO’.”

“This is Alice in Wonderland or ‘Leo in Endaland’ where words mean what the Government wants them to mean. The truth of the matter that the rundown of our hospitals is the price that citizens are being forced to pay for the Government’s brutal austerity policies.” 

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