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Government breaks record for number of patients on trolleys just two days into 2018

2 January, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

On the release of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation “Trolley Watch” figures showing that there is a record high of 656 patients on trolleys today, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly has said that the Government and the Minister for Health have entered 2018 in the exact same position they have left 2017; failing patients and failing the health service.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“Straight off the back of the 2017 full year figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) which showed a record total of 98,981 patients admitted to our hospitals were left waiting on a trolley, a 6 per cent rise on last year, we now have the news that this Government has broken another record - a total of 656 patients being left on a trolley in a single day.

“This is only the fourth time that the number has exceeded 600 and today's number has surpassed the previous record figure of 612 which was also reached under Minister Harris’s stewardship of the Health Service.

 “I have continuously warned the Minister for Health about the need to open all closed beds to deal with the capacity issues in the Health Service.

Sinn Féin have repeatedly taken many opportunities to warn him that this year, given the huge number of patients on trolleys all through 2017, that an outbreak of flu would put huge pressure on our Health Service and our healthcare workers.

“Consistently the Minister and this Government hold their hands up in January and protest that they could never have known that during the height of winter that flu could be so widespread.

"This utter nonsense must stop; everyone, and I mean everyone, knows that these pressures come on the health service in the winter. We need action to deal with the trolley crisis, not faux surprise that people get the flu during winter.

“All year I have been saying that if Minister Harris is serious about addressing the issues which create this trolley crisis, then he needs to tackle four main areas: recruitment and retention of staff, reopening closed beds, adequate step down facilities, and proper primary and community care. 

“On many occasions I have written to him offering solutions to address the crisis, sending our policies on how to do this, however, my offers were not taken up and little has been done in any of the problem areas and the proof is the 98,981 people left on trolleys in 2017 and the 656 patients left on trolleys today.

"Clearly one of Minister Harris's New Years resolution is not to address the crisis in health."

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