Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams TD has said the health service is crumbling and lives are being put at risk. Speaking in the Dáil after senior doctors expressed major concern at overcrowding in emergency departments, he called on the Government to reverse James Reilly’s “disastrous health cuts”.
According to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda on Tuesday had the highest number of patients – 30 – on trolleys of any hospital in the state.
Gerry Adams said: “Senior frontline doctors operating in emergency departments, are deeply concerned that trolley numbers remain extremely high. In the past two weeks, trolley numbers have exceeded 300-a-day.”
He also pointed out that figures supplied by the Irish Nurses and Midwives’ Organisation (INMO) showed that 394 patients are on trolleys today in emergency departments or wards around the state. Of these, 308 are in emergency departments.
Mr Adams continued: “Meanwhile the head of the HSE has bluntly said that the money being allocated for the health service this year will not be enough to deliver the services required.”
“Taoiseach, our health services are crumbling before our eyes. Lives are clearly being put at risk. Will you at least commit today to providing the necessary funding to the 2014 HSE service plan and will you further commit to reverse the disastrous health cuts that Minister Reilly has been responsible for?”
He said the government was lurching from one debacle to another in relation to key public services:
“The health service was already at breaking point before the outrageous cuts inflicted by the HSE Service Plan. Despite the untiring efforts of health workers, our health service is not fit for purpose. The cuts introduced by Fianna Fáil, Labour and Fine Gael have devastated frontline care.
“€4 billion has been taken out of the health service since 2008.Thousands of citizens face the loss of discretionary medical cards in 2014, including seriously ill and disabled children. Funding for nursing home beds is being cut, with the knock-on pressure this puts on hospital beds.
“Prescription charges have been trebled by a Minister who condemned them when he was in Opposition. There are 375,000 people on the outpatients waiting list.”
The Sinn Féin leader said people need and demand a radical change of direction in Government Health Policy.