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Adams slams Government inaction on hospital crisis

4 March, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today slammed Government inaction on the crisis in hospitals. Raising the matter with the Taoiseach in the Dáil, he highlighted a damning letter from a senior emergency department doctor regarding the plight of critically ill patients at Beaumont Hospital.

Deputy Adams said:

"The number of citizens lying on trolleys in our hospitals stands this morning at 478.”

"Conditions in the emergency department of Beaumont Hospital are now so bad that a senior emergency department doctor, in a letter to hospital management and the HSE has described it as being the equivalent of "healthcare in Guantanamo".

"This letter was written in December - before the crisis in trolley patients escalated.”

"The doctor says critically ill patients are receiving blood transfusions on chairs. Heart attack patients are regularly also treated on chairs.”

"He struggled to get a trolley for a man with liver failure. Two patients with advanced cancer were 'doomed to sit on chairs' for 24 hours. He had to resuscitate a patient who suffered a cardiac arrest after being placed in an annex corridor.”

"A HSE report shows there are 705 hospital patients who no longer need to be in hospital and should be transferred to a nursing home, a rehab bed or their own house with a home care package. Age Action Ireland have described these patients as 'prisoners of the State'.”

"The Government must now prioritise the crisis in our hospitals by immediately increasing the number of step-down beds; Ensuring the Fair Deal scheme is adequately funded; and speed-up funding for house adaptations and Home Help packages."

"Citizens will be deeply angered at the contrast, revealed in a Comptroller and Auditor General report, between the conditions endured by patients in Emergency Departments with reports that HSE managers are claiming public money for nights in five-star hotels, flights to New York for a guest, and alcohol on trips.”

"The audit report also found that a former retired employee was rehired on a contract of six hours per week for a salary of €156,000.”

"Compare this obscene amount of money with the plight of citizens who are prevented from going home because they can't get financial support for a home care package or basics such as grab-rails or appliances. Little wonder that people are angry or cynical when they hear listen to the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health.”

"The Government allocated a mere €25 million to go towards extra nursing home beds under the Fair Deal scheme. The Tánaiste has been telling us all how a recovery in public finances means the Government can now make long term investment plans.”

"However, nowhere has she mentioned the need to allocate money to deal with the current overcrowding crisis in our hospitals or the 24,369 citizens who have been awaiting elective surgery for longer than six months. Meanwhile the Minister for Health acts the part of a neutral commentator. The current health budgeted is entirely unrealistic, is insufficient to deal with the crisis and requires an emergency supplement." 

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