Scandalous Trolley numbers – Adams

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams has challenged the Taoiseach on the state of the health service and in particular the crisis in our emergency departments.

The Sinn Féin leader also accused the government of taking decisions that are intent on privatising the health service and “abandoning the public ownership model of health provision”.

The Louth TD referenced the tragic case of Dualtagh Donnelly who bled to death at his home in Dundalk while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

Teachta Adams said:

“Last month was the worst October on record for numbers of patients on trolleys. Almost 8,000 citizens spent time on trolleys. They included a 91-year-old patient who spent 29 hours on a trolley in Tallaght Hospital’s emergency department.

“In the first 10 months of this year almost 80,000 admitted patients, were on trolleys, the highest ever figure for the first 10 months of any year since Trolley Watch began. That’s the size of a small town.

“According to the INMO, for the 15th month in a row, October 2015 saw an increase in the level of overcrowding in Emergency Departments. Today (Wednesday) there are 374 patients on trolleys. That is a scandalous figure and the government should be ashamed of its failure to tackle this issue effectively.

“Also in October 25 year old Dualtagh Donnelly bled to death while waiting for an ambulance to arrive, despite the fact that his family home is only five minutes from the Dundalk ambulance station and Louth County Hospital where the A&E department has been closed.

Dualtagh Donnelly’s mother Oonagh said; “I feel my son died because of politicians policies”.

“The President of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association Dr Gerard Crotty has said the cause of A&E overcrowding is a lack of capacity because not enough money has been allocated to deal with it.

“This is a deeply serious problem that the government is failing to get to grips with.”

The Louth TD referred to a speech last week by the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar who proposed that CEO’s of hospital groups should be allowed to transfer management of hospitals to private providers.

Gerry Adams said:

“Mr Varadkar also said hospital groups should be able to conduct business in the manner of semi-state companies “outside the constraints of public service rules”.

These are shocking and revealing comments which highlight the ideological position of this Government which seeks ultimately to privatise our health services, leaving patients at the mercy of a profit margin.

“The silence of the Labour Party in the wake of Minister Varadkar’s Thatcherite proposals is notable.

“The Ministers comments are evidence that this government’s ideological position is about privatisation and that the long term goal of the government is the abandonment of public ownership of our public health service.”

Urgent Action needed on Trolleys: Adams

Ard Fheis 8Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has described the ongoing crisis in patients stuck on trolleys in Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda as “symptomatic of all that is wrong with the government’s health policies.”

The Louth TD described last week’s INMO report on trolley figures for May as “deeply disturbing”. He said: “The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation in its latest analysis of trolley figures revealed that May was the worst month on record for patients on trolleys. There were 7,713 patients on a trolley for an in-patient bed – up 31% on last year.

These figures are almost double – up 83% – on what they were in May 2006.

And predictably Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda had the second highest number of patients on trolleys of all hospitals in the state. 718 patients were impacted in Our Lady of Lourdes.”

Gerry Adams TD said:

“Last October the government provided an additional €635 million to the HSE.

This was less than half of the €1.4 billion that it had asked for. Several months ago the government provided an additional €74 million to deal with the crisis in the Emergency Departments by attempting to provide additional places in the Fair Deal system for medically discharged patients who are stuck in hospital beds.

Despite the hard work of staff, Our Lady of Lourdes continues to have numbers in the Emergency department that are close to those normally seen in winter time. On Wednesday June 17th OLOL had the worst trolley figures in the state – 36 patients on trolleys.

In recent weeks the media have highlighted two specific cases of citizens born before the 1916 Rising who have endured many hours on trolleys.

Dr James Gray, a consultant in emergency medicine at Tallaght Hospital described as ‘horrendous’ and as a ‘form of torture and a human rights abuse’ the conditions under which a 101-year-old woman was kept.

The Irish Association of Emergency Medicine said patients who have to remain on hospital trolleys for extended periods of time, have suffered an infringement of their human rights and have been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.

Clearly government policy needs to change. 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.”