Munster calls on Minister to provide high-dependency beds to end last-minute cancellations

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has hit out at Minister for Health Simon Harris for the failures of the health service to carry out planned surgeries due to a lack of resources in hospitals.

Speaking in the Dáil this week, Deputy Munster outlined the case of a constituent who has had planned back surgery cancelled twice because there was no high dependency bed available.

Deputy Munster said:

“This woman has been on a waiting list for over a year for surgery due to complications of scoliosis. She is in severe pain.”

“Her surgery requires a high dependency bed be on standby, however on the two occasions that her surgery was scheduled such a bed was not available. On both occasions she had spent the night in hospital having pre-operative tests carried out, only to be told on the morning of surgery, in the theatre department, that the procedure had been cancelled.”

“Her surgeon has advised her that this can, and will, happen again and again. There is no end in sight for her, as nothing is being done to remedy the situation.”

“She has told me that the repeated cancellations are ‘emotionally and physically devastating”.

“The government made a commitment to reduce waiting times for hospital procedures. This situation is easily rectified. It’s little wonder that waiting lists are so long when basic procedures such as the provision of a standby high dependency bed cannot be guaranteed for patients, and surgeries are cancelled multiple times as a result.”

Minister Harris responded that he intends to increase the number of beds, and that he intends to build new elective-only hospitals.

Deputy Munster responded:

“This is a totally unsatisfactory response. Fine Gael have been in government for seven years, and they have failed to deliver. It is outrageous that the only response the Minister can muster is to that he intends to deliver more beds and build more hospitals. They’ve had seven years to address this.”

“It is totally unfair that patients continue to suffer due to the incompetence of the Minister and his department”.

Waiting lists in OLOL grow as Government policy fails – Adams

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams today challenged the Taoiseach on the worsening crisis in our emergency departments. INMO figures for today reveal that there are 528 people awaiting admittance to a ward. One of the highest trolley numbers is Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda which has 41 citizens on trolleys.

Gerry Adams said:

“Despite all of the bluster and promises from the government, and claims of investment in our health system, those patients attending our emergency departments have been increasingly left on trolleys because of a lack of capacity within those departments.

One example of government failure is the admission by the Minister for Health in a PQ to my colleague Louise O’Reilly TD that the Government’s much heralded bed capacity review, which was announced in the Programme for Government, has not yet had its terms of reference set.

Critically, the National Treatment Purchase Fund figures for last month revealed a health service under serious pressure from increasing waiting lists. In October there were 535,000 citizens on the public hospital waiting lists. This is another record number.

There are 12,216 outpatients waiting for treatment in Our Lady of Lourdes. Almost 5,000 of these patients have been waiting for more than six months. There are also 1106 citizens waiting for inpatient day case treatment in OLOL. Of these 377 are waiting on general surgery and 205 have been waiting for more than six months.

It is obvious that Government inaction on the crisis in emergency departments and acute hospitals is resulting in worsening trolley and overcrowding figures.

 

Munster: No show from Minister as 18 beds close in Louth

Imelda Photo WhiteIn the Dáil on Thursday evening Sinn Féin Louth and Meath East TD Imelda Munster raised the matter of 18 beds assigned to services for the elderly in Louth being closed due to nursing staff shortages.

Questioning Minister for State Catherine Byrne, as Minister for Health Simon Harris was unavailable, Deputy Munster asked that the Department instruct the HSE to implement a fast-tracking process to fill these vacancies.

“I realise there is an overall nursing recruitment plan in place but a significant part of the problem in my constituency is the serious delay by the HSE management nationally, not locally, in approving the filling of staff vacancies. It was known for months before the 18 beds were closed that there was a need to recruit staff. Those approvals were left on a desk or shelf gathering dust in the full knowledge of the crisis we were facing.”

“The HSE at national level is responsible for the closure of beds in Drogheda and Dundalk. They were fully aware of the impending crisis in elderly services in Louth and instead of approving the posts for the filling of vacancies well in advance, they closed 18 beds.”

“It is either total incompetence or a deliberate policy of bed closure. This will have a knock on effect on Our Lady of Lourdes hospital coming into the winter months. Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital is one of the worst in the country for overcrowding, being often top of the list in this regard. Yesterday, for instance, 29 patients were on trolleys there. I am calling on the Minister to reverse those cuts as we approach the winter.”

Deputy Munster expressed outrage that the Minister for Health wasn’t even in attendance to answer questions or be held accountable.

“The Minister needs to prioritise the fast-tracking of approval to fill vacancies on a national level and I intend to pursue the Minister on this matter.”

“Elderly services have been decimated in county Louth and the Minister needs to instruct senior management of the HSE to get their act together and fast-track the approval process and reinstate those beds as a matter of urgency”.

Munster – Gov TDs failing to deliver on beds promises

IMG_6186_edited-1Sinn Féin Councillor Imelda Munster has accused the government of “cynically exploiting the allocation of funding to three residential care centres in Louth for electoral purposes.”

The Louth County Councillor also accused the government and in particular government TDs Ged Nash and Fergus ODowd of failing to deliver on their claims of 100 additional beds through St. Mary’s.

Councillor Munster said:

“The governments plan is for a 90 bed unit to replace the existing 64. In all this means an additional 26 beds. While this is welcome it still falls far short of what both government TDs were promising.”

Imelda Munster said:

“The announcement by the government of funding for three residential care centres in Louth is long overdue. The decisions to refurbish and rebuild St. Mary’s Hospital in Drogheda, St. Joseph’s in Ardee and St. Oliver Plunkett were taken years ago.

The decision on St. Mary’s was made in 2012. The refurbishment plan for St. Joseph’s was agreed in 2013. In a HSE response to Gerry Adams last November it was confirmed that the capital funding had been allocated.

This is another example of the government making the same announcement several times.

More importantly these projects have been planned for three and four years. The failure by the government to prioritise these projects means that St. Mary’s will not be delivered until 2020 and St. Josephs in Ardee will not be finished until 2021.

As a consequence of government failure the residents of these residential care centres will continue to live in unacceptable and outdated conditions.”

ADAMS TD – End Scandal in OLOL Emergency department

lg_adams_copy3Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has called for an “urgent review of government policy and funding for the Health Service to end the scandal of patients stuck on trolleys in Emergency Departments.”

The Louth TD said:

“Waiting lists in Our Lady of Lourdes Emergency Department have remained consistently high. On Monday August 10th there were 35 patients on trolleys in OLOL – the worst in the state. The following day (today) Tuesday August 11th that number was 36.

“The summer period normally sees a drop in the volume of overcrowding in Emergency Departments but the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has reported that July saw the ‘highest ever level of overcrowding recorded.’ July 2015 witnessed a 94% increase in trolley numbers in ED’s since 2006.

“Our Lady of Lourdes – with 769 patients on trolleys In July – had the highest levels of overcrowding of any hospital in the state.

“This is deeply disturbing and is evidence of the abject failure of government policy in respect of the health service and the care of patients. New measures introduced by the Minister for Health are inadequate and the €74 million additional funding provided several months ago has failed to achieve any significant improvement in Emergency Department trolley numbers.

“The negative impact of this on patient care and patient well-being requires urgent additional funding by the government.

Urgent action is needed. It should include:

  • Immediate steps to recruit the required additional staff.
  • Additional resources to expand the role of the nurse in the acute care and in enhanced community services.
  • More acute beds and step down facilities must be established.”