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Minister Harris must get a grip on trolley crisis as we enter peak winter season – Louise O’Reilly TD

31 October, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Health Louise O’Reilly TD has said that it is clear that the Minister for Health doesn’t “fully grasp the trolley crisis if he doesn’t see that the trolley crisis and the nursing recruitment and retention crisis are interlinked”.

The Fingal TD’s comments come as the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) release figures showing that over 9000 patients were forced to wait on trolleys and chairs for hospital beds in the month of October.

Teachta O'Reilly said:

“The trolley crisis has been continuously escalating under Simon Harris’s tenure as Minister for Health. Last year saw the largest number of patients on trolleys in recorded history – 98,981.

“This year the crisis has continued on the same trajectory as the last. The most recent Trolley Watch figures from the INMO show that this month has been the worst October on record for hospital overcrowding.

“Throughout the month 9,055 patients spent one night or more on a trolley, with University Hospital Limerick having over 1,045 patients on trolleys alone. These figures are already staggering and we haven’t yet hit the peak of winter season.

“Minister Harris has so far failed to deal with the issues that are causing this emergency. These are the issues of recruitment and retention of staff, capacity - failure to reopen closed beds, adequate step down facilities, and proper primary and community care.

“As with the housing crisis, the government think that their policies are working for the health service but, they are completely failing and that failure is having a devastating impact on people’s lives.

“Last January the Dáil passed a Private Members Business motion advocating solutions to resolve the trolley crisis, however, Fine Gael have failed to make any attempt to implement it.

“Indeed, the government have also failed to address the nursing recruitment and retention crisis which is central to the trolley crisis. An analysis of the trolley crisis shows that hospitals with unfilled nursing vacancies have the highest numbers of patients on trolleys.

“If the Minister for Health cannot see that the trolley crisis and the nursing recruitment and retention crisis are interlinked then he doesn’t fully understand the nature of the trolley crisis."

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