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Shortage of acute hospital beds must be urgently addressed – O’ Reilly

5 September, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on health, Louise O’ Reilly TD has supported the Irish Medical Organisation’s (IMO) call for increased acute hospital beds in order to tackle the chaos in our Emergency Departments.

Deputy O’ Reilly said:

“Today's calls by the IMO are representative of the appalling lack of capacity in our health service currently, brought about by years of cutbacks and underinvestment. We hear and see it every day. Indeed, The 'Trolley Watch’ figures provided by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) regularly highlight the impact on the sick and vulnerable following decades of government failure on this issue. 

“Data from the OECD Health at a Glance 2014 report showed that Ireland is below the EU average in terms of hospital beds per 1,000 of the population - Ireland had less than four compared to the EU’s 5.2 at that time. 

“A very significant increase in capacity across the system is vital if we are to overcome the current crisis and move towards genuine universal healthcare. Sinn Féin has been consistent in saying this, and this principle will form a critical part of our pre-budget submission in relation to health.

“The clear fact is that in the last decade hundreds of hospital beds were closed, causing knock on effects on our health services. There is capacity to reopen hospital beds but there must be sustained investment in this and in the recruitment and retention of staff to ensure that the beds are fully operational.

“Sinn Fein will be proposing significant investment in making available hospital beds, staffing and ancillary services in our pre budget submission.”

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