Health service flatlining – Ó Caoláin
Speaking in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD highlighted a number of pressing health issues including inadequate mental health funding, the trolley crisis and waiting lists which are unacceptably long.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“The continuing inequalities in public health are a direct result of the deep social and economic divisions in our society, with the wealthier sections enjoying better health and speedier access to healthcare compared to the less well off. This should be intolerable in Ireland in the 21st century, yet pervasive social and economic inequality, now as in the past, continues to generate poverty and ill-health in Ireland.
“Mental Health is a key area in which successive Governments have failed to provide an adequate level of service. The situation has gone from bad to worse with the threat of €12million being taken from the additional €35million which was ring-fenced for mental health. This is absolutely deplorable and is indicative of a Government and senior civil service that is out of touch with the realities faced by so many who suffer from mental health issues.
“The ‘Trolley Watch’ figures provided by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) regularly highlight the impact of decades of government failure to adequately provide for the sick and the vulnerable. Yesterday there were 323 patients languishing on trolleys.
"The crisis is partly a reflection of inefficiencies within the system, but in the main it is directly due to lack of capacity in terms of staffing and bed numbers.
“Last week, data from the National Treatment Purchase Fund revealed that hospital waiting list figures have increased for inpatient, day case and outpatient care. It revealed that an astonishing 490,500 patients, nearly half a million people, are awaiting treatment or assessment in the public hospital system. This is utterly shameful.
“The election took place eight weeks ago this Friday. We are still without a Government. No Minister has come before this Dáil to address these urgent issues or to be held to account for what is happening under their watch. It would appear that there is absolutely no appreciation of the distress, and often pain, that those awaiting access to our hospital services and those on trolleys are enduring. This has got to stop.”