Priority must be hospital capacity and supporting frontline healthcare workers

06 January 2021


  • Private hospital capacity must be urgently secured.
  • Healthcare staff shortages are a huge concern now.


The rising hospitalisation rates and impact of soaring Covid cases on frontline healthcare workers must be the priority of the government over coming days said Labour Party Leader Alan Kelly calling for assurances that capacity has been secured in the private sector, and that all required supports are put in place to protect our doctors and nurses.

Deputy Kelly said:

“There was no alternative to the lockdown measures now in place with cases so high in the community, and our hospitals under severe pressure but it reinforces the need to get our testing and tracing system back into action for containment as soon as possible.

“The Labour Party will continue to make constructive suggestions to government in the coming days to ensure the impact of new restrictions do not impact on our most vulnerable. Social income supports, and in school tutition for identified groups are key concerns we have raised in recent days. The lack of statutory sick pay and protections for those working at home remain large gaps in the rights of workers nearly a year into this pandemic.

“What is critical now though is that our acute hospitals and frontline healthcare workers receive all the resources and support they need. Any spare capacity must now be activated. There is still no confirmation that access to private hospital facilities has been secured, and I would urge again for the government to consider the nationalisation of at least one private hospital to guarantee we have the beds we need to meet the crisis ahead.

“There is a marked difference between now and when we reached the peak of Covid-19 in March/April 2020, trolley numbers are once again on the rise with over 219 patients on trolleys. Defeating Covid does not have the same singular focus in our hospitals it once had and we need to be reassured that we will not have a trolley crisis on top of a Covid one.

“I am seriously concerned now about the impact of staff shortages in acute hospitals and the impact on frontline services. Whatever supports are needed must be put in place.

“Together, by staying at home and restricting our movements we can limit the spread of Covid-19 and doing so is now the best help we can give to those working at the frontline.”

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