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Ferris ejected from Dáil chamber for raising problems at Kerry General Hospital with Taoiseach

8 November, 2005

North Kerry Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris was ejected from the Dáil chamber this evening after he tried to raise the problems that are being faced by patients and staff at Kerry General Hospital with the Taoiseach.   Deputy Ferris had previously unsuccessfully tried to raise the issue with former Health Minister Micheál Martin and current Health Minister Mary Harney.   The Ceann Comhairle ruled that Ferris was out of order and forced him to leave the chamber following his repeated insistence that the Taoiseach address the issue.

Speaking afterwards Deputy Ferris said, “The Tánaiste and Minister for Health Mary Harney knows that the worst performance of all departments at Kerry General Hospital in the recent Hygiene Report was the Accident and Emergency Department.  However, if the Minister was to see for herself the conditions and facilities of that Department she would see the reasons for this performance.  I am calling on the Tánaiste to visit Kerry General Hospital.  I visited and met with staff and patients at the A&E Department on Monday and, not for the first time, I was appalled to see the conditions staff and patients have to put up with.

"There were at least 50 patients waiting to be seen. However there was no consultant available as he was at a meeting. There was only one doctor there and a relief doctor was due at 4pm, and even that was uncertain. There were only four nurses to cope with all these patients who had been waiting several hours. Many had been there for up to five hours.

"But what I saw next was the most appalling of all. I met a lady of 74 years of age lying on a trolley in the corridor. She told me she had been there since 11:30pm on Sunday night. This was at 3pm on Monday afternoon.

"What an absolute disgrace - four nurses to 50 patients, one doctor to 50 patients, no consultant to 50 patients, two porters and one domestic staff to 50 patients. Does the Tánaiste know that there is only one domestic staff on duty for five hours a day, six days a week, to do a 24-hour a day seven day week job? Does she know that there is no domestic staff on duty on a Sunday? Does she know that nurses have to do the cleaning themselves? Does she know that contract cleaners are limited to five hours a day.  This situation has been ignored for far too long despite my efforts to raise it with the Government. I am demanding to know what the Minister and what the Government is going to do about this. It must not be ignored any longer." ENDS

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