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Government responsible for “a health service in chaos” - Adams

14 January, 2016 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has accused the government of being responsible for “a health service in chaos”.

In his contribution to a Sinn Féin Private Members debate on the crisis in hospital emergency departments Teachta Adams revealed that “in the first four days of this week 146 patients were on trolleys in Our Lady of Lourdes Drogheda”.

He added: “On Monday and Tuesday Our Lady of Lourdes had the highest figures for trolleys in the state. These figures are an indictment of this government’s health policy.”

Speaking during the Sinn Féin PMB on emergency departments Gerry Adams TD said:

“Dr. James Gray, an emergency consultant in Tallaght Hospital, last week expressed his outrage at the scale of patients on trolleys in our emergency departments.

“He said: “This is a disgrace. It’s a national scandal. Many of these patients are elderly, the most vulnerable in our society.” But it’s worse than that.

“I have spoken to families whose sick and elderly members will not go to the emergency departments because they know they may be lying on a trolley for days.

“Figures released in recent days by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation show that 92,998 people were treated on trolleys in hospitals across this state during 2015.

“This is the highest ever number of patients recorded since the Trolley Watch Campaign began in 2006 and represents an increase of 21% in hospital overcrowding.

“It is also a damning indictment of this Fine Gael/Labour Government.

“In 2007 Enda Kenny promised to “end the scandal of patients on trolleys.” That promise was broken.

“Four years later, in Fine Gael’s famous five point plan, they promised to create a completely new health system. Their plan would cut waiting lists; end apartheid in our health service; offer equal access to all; more and better community care; and fewer hospital stays.

“After five years of chaos in our health service it is obvious that like so many other Fine Gael and Labour election promises the five point plan wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on.

“In the first four days of this week there were 1819 patients on hospital trolleys in emergency departments across the state.

“146 of these were in Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda in my own constituency of Louth. On Monday and Tuesday Our Lady of Lourdes had the worst figures in the state.

“These figures are an indictment of this government’s health policy.

“As part of his response to all of this Minister Varadkar produced new proposals immediately prior to Christmas. These claim that there should be no more than 70 patients a day on trolleys. He also claimed zero tolerance of patients waiting more than 9 hours on trolleys.

“On Tuesday there were more than 200 patients on trolleys for longer than 9 hours.

“In addition a third of the 300 beds promised last autumn to tackle overcrowding have still not been delivered.

“Fine Gael and the Labour Party have no intention of adequately resourcing the health service.

“Twice in recent months nurses in emergency departments have voted for industrial action. While the strike planned for today has been averted the crisis in our health service remains.

“The Government is responsible for a health service in chaos. It is the responsibility of every member of the Cabinet who voted for and implemented these polices.

“It is time that the Taoiseach admitted that his Government seeks ultimately to privatise our health services, leaving patients at the mercy of the profit margin.

“Fine Gael ideology favours a two-tier, private health model and this has been highlighted in various comments by Minister Varadkar.

“Sinn Féin has put forward this Private Member’s motion in an effort to focus political attention on easing the situation in our emergency departments.

“The motion calls for the increased recruitment of frontline staff, the provision of additional funding to the Fair Deal Scheme, the provision of additional nursing home beds, a significant increase to home help and homecare packages and the establishment of an Emergency Department Taskforce on a permanent basis.

“We have also published a fully costed, practical Health policy which would see the realisation of a world-class system of universal health care, accessed on the basis of need, free at the point of delivery, and funded by progressive taxation for the Irish state.

“We believe there is no greater good worth striving for. That is the route out of the chaos in our health service. That is what needs to be urgently delivered.”

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