Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Tallaght hospital crisis urgently needs intervention

16 June, 2004

Sinn Féin TD for Dublin south-west Séan Crowe has challenged the Minister for Health and Children to outline what measures, if any, he had taken to address the ongoing crisis at Tallaght Hospital Accident and Emergency ward, which was causing "utter bedlam" for staff and patients.

Deputy Crowe said:

"Since the Dáil last met, as many as 45 people have been left on trolleys in the hospital's A&E Department, 10 in the Observation ward, 12 in the day ward and 27 majors waiting to be seen ? an average of 93 patients left awaiting treatment. This crisis needs the Minister's intervention as the situation, rather than being addressed, appears to be getting worse. The first sight on entering the doors of the Accident and Emergency ward is seriously ill people on trolleys and the numbers are growing. A friend of mine who has a congenital heart problem was recently brought to the hospital where there were 18 people waiting on the corridor. He talked of the lack of dignity, the lack of privacy, the overcrowding and confusion that was evident during his long stay on a trolley. And this scene is being re-enacted every single day and night.

"Does the Minister not realise that this is the same corridor through which young children have to pass to attend the Children's Accident and Emergency Department? The sights and sounds of people in various states of pain and suffering must be terrifying for many of these children. Yet the Minister responsible doesn't see the need to directly intervene. A patient with a heart condition, who was wired to an ECG machine, told me that he left his trolley at one stage to use the bathroom. On his return, he found that the trolley bed was gone, that someone else was being treated on it. I believe this personal story reflects the utter bedlam and confusion for both staff and patients at the Tallaght A & E ward.

"I hear these stories all the time. People want to know if the core of the problem is a lack of investment, a lack of staff, bad management or some other fundamental difficulty. It is clear that conditions are getting worse. The Irish Nurses Organisation says it has never been so bad and the same applies to other hospitals in Dublin. People are looking for answers. I'm asking the Minister straight questions and I want him to give me straight answers and intervene directly in this crisis, now, without further delay." ENDS

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