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23 January 2018

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668 patients wait for treatment as Government stalls on trolley crisis

“Anyone in the Government or elsewhere, who thinks the trolley crisis is just a winter problem exacerbated by flu, does not grasp the true nature of the crisis in our hospitals and Emergency Departments.” - Louise O'Reilly TD

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation are reporting today a record number of 668 patients waiting on hospital trolleys across Ireland. The hospital most affected is University of Limerick with 60 patients waiting for beds.

The latest figures come a week after Sinn Féin passed a crucial Dáil motion which sought to outline the issues in the health service as identified first hand by staff and patients.

The motion outlined four key areas for the Minister for Health Simon Harris to focus on in a bid combat this crisis.

These are; the recruitment and retention of staff, the reopening of closed beds, adequate step-down facilities and proper primary and community care.

Minister for Health Simon Harris was due to raise the issue of hospital overcrowding at cabinet this morning, where he would table a review of hospital bed capacities.

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly has said, “The trolley crisis is a crisis of capacity, it will not go away because a flu epidemic subsides - it will remain until the issue of capacity is addressed. 

“Anyone in the Government or elsewhere, who thinks the trolley crisis is just a winter problem exacerbated by flu, does not grasp the true nature of the crisis in our hospitals and Emergency Departments.

“Last Thursday the Dáil passed a substantive Sinn Féin motion with solutions on how to tackle and stabilise the trolley crisis. The motion outlined the issues, identified by staff in the health service and patients who have been through the service, while proposing achievable solutions to this crisis.

“The Government must immediately implement these measures in order to stabilise the trolley crisis in the short term.”

There is also increasing pressure on Taoiseach Varadkar and Minister Harris to begin addressing the long-term systematic problems within the public health services.

Teachta O’Reilly said that this can be done with the political will to fully implement of all the recommendations in the Sláintecare report.

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