13 November 2003 Edition
TD cites horrendous scenes at Tallaght hospital
Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe described as "horrendous" scenes in Dublin hospitals on Monday as 120 patients were left on trolleys in five A&Es across the city. Tallaght Hospital, with almost 40 people waiting on trolleys — 19 of them in hospital corridors — was the worst hit. The Tallaght-based TD called on the government to facilitate a debate on a crisis set to worsen and for increases in the Carers' Allowance.
The Dublin Southwest TD said: "This is nothing short of horrendous. Over a hundred people, many of them elderly, are lying on trolleys in corridors, in some cases for days.
"The problem is compounded by the fact that 450 people are waiting for discharge from hospital and medical staff are unable to free up those beds because the people in them have nowhere else to go. The government needs to provide more long-term-stay beds and, crucially, more support for carers. The families of many of these people would be happy to have them living with them but have not the money to meet the burden of care that would be on them. In the coming Budget, the government has the opportunity to abolish the means test for the Carers Allowance and to increase the allowance to the same rate as that provided to Foster Carers.
"The government has been happy to pour millions into the health service so long as it goes into the back pocket of hospital consultants. Where is the investment in front line delivery of services? As winter gets colder, and the number of flu cases increases, we are going to see surges in overcrowding like this continue as the number of respiratory cases increases. I intend to raise this in Leinster House tomorrow as a matter of priority and I call on the government to facilitate such a debate."