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HSE Winter Initiative doomed to fail before it has even begun – O’ Reilly

9 September, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD


Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O'Reilly TD has today said that the HSE winter initiative is doomed to fail before it has even begun as streams of reports of cancelled surgeries, overcrowding and waiting lists dominate the media.

Deputy O'Reilly said:

“It is clear that even before it is launched, the HSE winter initiative is doomed to fail before it has even begun as streams of reports of cancelled surgeries, overcrowding and waiting lists dominate the media.

“We use the word crisis to reflect the situation in our health services currently, but we are at the stage that that word has lost its meaning. We have unfortunately become normalised to cancelled surgeries, lengthening waiting lists, overcrowding and people on trollies. The ‘Winter Initiative’ is a fire fighting exercise, with very little chance of containing the carnage that is there.

“The fact is that we have over 800 less hospital beds in our hospitals since 2008, and there are at least 500 beds occupied because of delayed discharges. That is 1300 beds at least out of commission, at a time when the service is crying out for additional capacity.

“Reports today that the HSE's Winter Initiative plan will provide 55 extra acute beds at around nine hospitals which are suffering severe overcrowding is illustrative of an absence of real political will to deal with these crises. 55 beds is only a drop in the ocean of what is needed. Only a few weeks ago the Minister said that he was satisfied that the HSE was sufficiently resourced to deliver upon its service plan. While they may believe that they are sufficiently resourced to deliver the service plan, the fact is that the service plan lacks ambition and focus without serious recruitment, retention and beds right across the services- from primary care to acute hospitals. This is reflected in the trinity of crises we are seeing today- cancelled surgeries, overcrowding and waiting lists.

“Sinn Féin will be proposing significant investment in making available hospital beds, staffing and ancillary services in our budget submission. Coupled with our proposal for a single integrated waiting list system, we believe this is the only way out of this crisis. I will be questioning the Minister on these issues later this month before the Health Committee.”

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