Healthcare workers must not pay the price for poor planning

02 February 2022

Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith TD has said that frontline healthcare workers cannot play the price for poor planning and insisted that improving pay and conditions of workers must be a top priority for the Minister for Health.

Deputy Smith said:

“I was deeply disappointed that Minister Donnelly could not be present in the Chamber today for statements on the easing of Covid restrictions and on the future of the health service. Before Covid hit out shores our health service was creaking. The reason why we got through this crisis was due to workers throughout the system going above and beyond to care for those who needed it most. And so, as restrictions ease, I am acutely conscious that we need to rebuild a health system with capacity, resources and staffing to ensure that no frontline worker ever pays the price for poor planning again.

“Take our ICU capacity, for example. It is not irrelevant to the current crisis to question what has been done to increase capacity and staffing. Regardless of the pandemic we fall below the ICU bed to person ratio of the European Union which put simple, is shameful.

“The Taoiseach informed me in December that we are failing in our targets for ICU beds. Had Minister Donnelly been present today, I would have demanded that he gives clarity to the Chamber as to where we are in relation to ICU staffing levels.

“We have plenty of qualified people here and abroad, in training and in college, who want to work in healthcare. Without them capacity and resources mean nothing. If we want a fit for purpose health services then the pay and conditions of workers must be a top priority for the Minister.”

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