Winter Initiative, Budget, and Ministerial announcements ‘a flop without dialogue’ – O’Reilly
Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said that the current trolley and emergency department crises are the manifestation of the failure of the winter initiative and the budget measures to deal comprehensively with the underlying malaise in the health system.
The Dublin Fingal TD said that without meaningful engagement with unions, frontline staff, and medical professionals before Ministerial announcements and fanfare, the Minister has no chance of dealing with the current crises.
Deputy O’Reilly said:
“As the trolley numbers fluctuate and as the Minister scrambles to be seen to take action to address the current trolley and emergency department crises, it is clear that the greater problems endemic in the health service have yet to be addressed.
“The failure of the winter initiative and the budget measures to deal comprehensively with the underlying malaise in the health system has meant that, as predicted, there has been chaos in our emergency departments as winter illness takes hold.
“When Minister Simon Harris announced the winter initiative last September, we warned that it was doomed to fail before it even begun. Indeed, at that time, he said that he was satisfied that the HSE was sufficiently resourced to deliver upon its service plan. However, the fact is that the HSE and the Minister lack ambition and focus without serious recruitment, retention and beds right across the services- from primary care to acute hospitals. That was the case in September and remains the case now.
“This is reflected in the trinity of crises we are seeing immediately post-Christmas, people on trollies, overcrowding and ambulances sitting waiting to get into A&Es.
“Without meaningful engagement with unions, frontline staff, and medical professionals before Ministerial announcements and fanfare, the Minister has no chance of dealing with the current crises. We saw this only yesterday as criticism surfaced from those on the frontline who said that the Minister’s announcements of a paltry 63 extra beds was not only insufficient, but also unrealistic without targeted recruitment with investment.
“We now hear the Minister threatening to replace staff with outside experts; there is a capacity issue in our hospitals and the Minister cannot continue to ignore this or try to distract from it.
“Sinn Féin have proposed significant investment in making available hospital beds, staffing, and ancillary services available. Coupled with our proposal for a single integrated waiting list system, we believe this is the only way out of this crisis.”