Government must work with workers to deliver solutions to hospital overcrowding
Following a discussion today (Wednesday, 9th March) at the Joint Oireachtas Health Committee on hospital overcrowding, Labour Senator and Health Committee member Annie Hoey said real investment is needed in healthcare workers.
Senator Hoey said:
“The government has failed workers in the health service for too long. All witnesses at today’s Oireachtas committee gave compelling and concerning insights into the lived reality experiences of frontline health workers in our hospitals. Workers are expected to care for the most vulnerable in dangerous working conditions, are expected to work excessive hours with many foregoing planned annual leave. Meanwhile, we continue to lose young medical professionals to countries overseas.
“Recruitment and terms and conditions for staff are at the heart of our health crisis and workers voices must be heard if we want solutions. It’s clear that until we meet the needs of staff in our hospitals with salaries, safety and security of employment, we will fail to attract people into the workforce. We need increased investment in our hospitals to attract more doctors and nurses, as well as giving GPs direct access to diagnostics.
“The sad reality is that Sláintecare appears to have fallen off the government’s plans entirely. We know that implementing Sláintecare reforms will greatly reduce the number of extra beds needed over the next decade from around 9,000 to 2,600. However, in the immediate term we simply have to increase bed capacity in public hospitals so that people are not lying for hours on end on trollies waiting to be seen to and ramping up the pressure on already stretched hospital staff, as is currently the case.
“Staff and patients need and deserve better. The creaking system was held up by workers throughout the pandemic. Minister Donnelly must sit down with these workers and their union representatives to hear their experience and prepare a pathway for solutions to this never ending crisis.”