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Tallaght trolley patients victims of Government health policy - Crowe

5 July, 2006

Tallaght based Sinn Féin representative TD Seán Crowe described patients lying on trolleys throughout our hospitals as "victims of the government's health policy" Crowe was speaking after it emerged that Tallaght hospital, with 31 patients left languishing on trolleys today, had the highest number in the state. Throughout the state 224 patients were left lying on trolleys in hospitals today.

Deputy Crowe said, "Every winter we read headlines highlighting the number of people spending many hours and even days on trolleys in the Accident and Emergency departments of our public hospitals. We even had a case in Tallaght this year when a seriously ill woman spent eight days on a trolley.

There is a myth that this is only a winter problem. But the Irish Nurses Organisation reported that 224 patients were on trolleys in our A&E units today. This is a scandal, these people are all victims of this Government's health policy.

"On the 5th of July 2005, exactly one year ago, there were 232 people on trolleys. That is an improvement of just 6 in a full year despite all the bally-hoo about the Tánaiste's so-called ten-point plan for A&E. If that is the figure today, at the height of summer, what is it going to be like in November when very ill people, many of them elderly people who have been disgracefully neglected because of inadequate primary care and community care services, are forced to face the awful prospect of days and nights in A&E units? We had record figures last winter -- well over 500 on some days. Will it exceed 600 or 700 this coming winter?

"If Taoiseach Bertie Ahern or Tánaiste Mary Harney became ill you could be guaranteed a bed would be suddenly found for them. The privatisation agenda of this government has resulted in private hospitals springing up while our public health service crumbles. Sinn Féin oppose the two-tier health system, patients should be treated according to their need and not their wealth.

"At the very least, a wealthy country should be a healthy one. The Tallaght Hospital trolley count is absolutely unacceptable. The government have been in power nearly a decade, but in that time the health service has degenerated into chaos.

"Patients, nurses, doctors and surgeons deserve better from this government, who have failed us all. People have heard enough excuses from the politicians in power, they want to see action." ENDS

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