News & Media

New Year, same old pressures in our health service

7 January 2019

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Spokesperson on Health

Reacting to news that 541 people are on trolleys today, Labour Party Health spokesperson Alan Kelly TD, has said that high trolley numbers are a symptom of the Government and HSE being ill-prepared for predictable winter illnesses.

Deputy Kelly said: 

“The annual winter crisis in our hospitals is well underway with 541 on trolleys today, with the highest numbers in my local hospital, University Hospital Limerick. Rising trolley numbers like these are not sustainable for patients, their families and the hardworking staff in hospitals around the country.

“As with other years I’m sure the HSE will be quick to blame the high figures on some predictable winter epidemic but it’s not good enough to blame winter viruses for the crisis in our A&Es. People get sick every year, this is not a new phenomenon. The HSE just fail to prepare adequately and leave staff on the ground to deal with and bear the brunt of the consequences. 

“It is disappointing that the HSE has no credible plan in place to deal with what is now looking to be an annual problem.

 “We need to see a change of tact from Fine Gael, who have held the Health portfolio for seven years, because pumping an extra €500 million into our health service every year is not sustainable when we are seeing numbers this high lying on trolleys.

 “There is a critical need to look at increasing the volume of home help hours. We have to ensure that community intervention teams can operate longer and consistently across the country. Our citizens deserve to be treated locally in their community instead of lying on hospital trolleys waiting to be treated.

“Those who need to use our hospitals deserve to be treated in a timely manner and provided with high quality treatment. Overcrowding in our A&Es and long waiting lists are symptoms of a system that requires better organisation and more people.”