Action must be taken on health crisis before winter months – Ó Caoláin
Speaking during Leaders’ Questions today, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD asked the Tánaiste if the government was aware that poor working conditions, that this government has only exacerbated through its devotion to austerity, is directly affecting patient services in Irish hospitals.
Deputy Ó Caoláin implored with the government to take on a massive nursing recruitment drive, saying that 4,000 nurses are needed as a matter of urgency.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“Tánaiste, last month in September, 7,630 people were on trolleys across the state. That signified an increase of 17% on the same month last year alone. Patients and frontline staff now face the winter months and every indication is that this crisis is only going to deepen. Patient safety is being compromised. Hospital staff are working under unacceptable conditions in a health system that is severely under-resourced.
“During the Budget debates that took place last week, nurses at St. Vincent’s hospital were protesting against the appalling conditions forced upon them and that patients are made to endure. A severe shortage of nurses is a major contributory factor in the present crisis. Nurses are choosing to go abroad because of poor working conditions and the lack of career prospects here.
“At least 4,000 additional nurses are required as a matter of urgency in our health service. The government must take on a massive recruitment campaign to bring nurses back home, but this must be combined with a drastic improvement in working conditions at home, else all will be for nought. This is not about money, though the government has only made matters worse through their FEMPI cuts.
“I am asking very especially now in the month of October, as in no time at all, the crisis we have seen in the summer period is going to multiply. If we don’t act now, we’re going to come into very, very serious times.”