Unprecedented hospital waiting lists the inevitable outcome of FF & FG policies – Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin rep says removal of services from hospitals like Monaghan ‘key component’ of current crisis
Fine Gael this week achieved a new record when, on Monday, 760 patients were awaiting admission to hospitals across the state, the highest number ever. This has been described by local Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, as the “inevitable outcome of the health policies pursued by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael over the past two decades”.
Carthy said that the removal of services from centres such as Monaghan Hospital was a key component in the dangerous situation that has regularly emerged in other hospitals that have been expected to pick up the pieces.
The Trolley Watch figures, complied by the Irish Nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation (INMO) revealed on Monday that the record 760 people waiting on admission to a hospital bed included 15 in Cavan General and 13 at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.
The Midlands North West MEP said the figures, which are the highest since the nursing union started compiling them in 2004, ‘laid bare the utter inability of Fine Gael, along with the HSE, to properly manage the State’s health service’.
Carthy said: “Behind all these figures are individual patients, waiting and suffering because of a lack of beds being available in almost every hospital across the State.
“Just last month, the INMO figures revealed that 10,003 admitted patients waited to get a bed in hospitals in December and that 231 of these were children. Last Friday January, there were 620 people waiting for a bed in the State’s hospitals before this figure jumped again to a record-breaking 760 on Monday.
“The government and the HSE know there is a bigger demand on ED services at this time of the year, but instead of properly planning for it, they choose to put their heads in the sand, only for government spokespeople to act dumbfounded.
“In addition, there are very worrying reports about ambulances being held up at emergency departments for between three and seven hours because they are waiting to safely hand over patients to nursing staff.
“People in counties like Monaghan have to rely on already over-stretched nurses and doctors in Cavan and Drogheda, after successive governments have spent nearly 20 years decimating services at Monaghan General. These record-breaking patient waiting figures are what happens when services are stripped from local hospitals and are the inevitable outcome of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael health policies.
“The cause of this most recent crisis is the failure of Health Minister Simon Harris to get to grips with his job. He is only there because Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil TDs keep him in situ.
“In the short term the Minister needs to look beyond his own propaganda and begin an immediate crisis intervention package that will alleviate the pressure on services. This means lifting the recruitment embargo on frontline staff and expanding capacity in our hospitals.
“In the longer term though we require a radical overhaul of the health system as advocated by Sinn Féin. This must mean the restoration and development of services at hospitals such as Monaghan in order to ease the pressures on other centres”.