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Adams concerned at potential health service crisis in Louth

30 July, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has reiterated his deep concerns at a potential crisis in health services in County Louth following a meeting with INMO representatives.

Mr. Adams again made a call for an independent, root-and-branch investigation into all care facilities in the State for citizens with intellectual disabilities.

Gerry Adams said:

“I held a very informative meeting with INMO representatives on Tuesday at which serious concerns within the health services in Louth were made clear.

“There are serious concerns over patient safety in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Emergency Department in Drogheda.

“These problems were evident under the previous Fianna Fáil-led government and now we see failure by Fine Gael and Labour and Health Minister Leo Varadkar to address the issue.

“There are considerable frustrations that after a decade of overcrowding we still have patients lying on trolleys.

“The resulting stressful working conditions in the Emergency Department is having a major impact on staff at Our Lady of Lourdes with resilience training recently undertaken at the hospital.

“The issue of acute beds is being directly and adversely impacted by a lack of resources in care for older people, in particular the lack of fully staffed step down beds.

“INMO representatives confirmed that Louth and its environs are the most underfunded and under resourced regions in the state in terms of the provision of services for older citizens.

“An ageing population, lack of cohesive or long-term policies, and years of underfunding under the current and previous Governments have seen long term care/respite beds and services reduced.

“The HSE appears focused on reducing staffing levels, meeting fiscal targets and implementing budgetary constraints, rather than ensuring the provision of quality care to patients. This is been driven at a national level and co-ordinated by HSE so called Service improvement teams.

“A failure to operate the Fair Deal scheme effectively and the lack of staffed stepdown beds has led to significant delays in patients been discharged from acute hospital beds. This is compounded by failure to allocate funding to follow need rather than budget schedules.

“Enabling more people to stay at home, requires that the serious deficits in Home Care packages are immediately addressed, as well as having sufficient funding ring fenced for housing adaptations all year round.

“Last month, members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation at St Mary’s, Drumcar, balloted for industrial action over budget cuts and inadequate staffing levels which required the intervention of the Labour Relations Commission.

“A HIQA report in June into the unit in St. Mary’s, which has 16 patients with intellectual disabilities, raised very serious concerns and highlighted major non-compliance in nine of the 10 outcomes inspected.

“Lack of sufficient funding is having a huge impact at this facility.

“While there may be longer term plans for moving people with Intellectual Disabilities into community based settings, there are also concerns as to what this will mean if sufficient funding does not follow the patient.

“Quick-fix plans based on firefighting problems as they come to light are not in anyone's interests .

“I also discussed with the INMO representatives wider concerns that exist around facilities for people with Intellectual Disabilities in light of several critical HIQA reports.

“In this regard, I wish to repeat the calls I have previously made for an independent, root-and-branch investigation into all care facilities in the State for citizens with intellectual disabilities.” 

Note: Currently there are beds closed in Louth co Hospital (11 beds) and Boyne View House in Drogheda (4 beds) due to nursing shortages which is becoming a massive problem.

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