Minister eventually agrees to investigate if additional capacity available in hospitals – O’Reilly
Speaking this afternoon, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has questioned why it has taken the Minister for Health Simon Harris over two years to ask the HSE to examine if there is any additional capacity in hospitals that can be utilised.
Teach O’Reilly said:
“For over two years now, I and other stakeholders, including the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), have been asking the Minister for Health to examine what beds had been closed in hospital during the austerity years and to commit funding to reopen them.
“On countless occasions, we were rebuffed and told to wait on the publication of the bed capacity review. However, when the review was eventually published, it did not even fully examine where beds are closed and how many there are.
“Therefore, while I welcome the Minister’s announcement that he will ask the HSE to examine if there is any additional capacity in hospitals that can be utilised, I cannot fathom why it has taken him over two years to do this.
“The fact it has taken over two years for this action to be taken by Minister Harris speaks volumes about this government’s utter lack of urgency in resolving the waiting list and Emergency Department trolley crises.
“This is just a window into the failures of this Minister for Health, such as an inability to address the underlying issues around the recruitment and retention of staff, all committed with the complicity of Fianna Fáil.
“The HSE, under the direction of Minister Harris, are not prepared for the challenges what winter will bring and the service is already overstretched and we are only in August. This announcement by the Minister, while welcome, is something that should have been done when Sinn Féin first called for it in early 2016.”