Failing health policy will be further exposed this winter with record hospital overcrowding

25 October 2022

Responding to figures published by the INMO today showing the highest level of overcrowding so far in 2022, Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith said Ireland’s creaking health system will come under intense stress this winter.

Deputy Smith said:

“It is a national disgrace that 669 patients are without a bed in our hospitals today. These figures are but a flavour of what is to come this winter as colleagues in the Southern hemisphere are telling us to anticipate a strong flu strain, as well as rising Covid numbers.

“The government is running out of excuses at this point. It’s clear that we need serious investment in terms of the recruitment of additional staff and retention of existing workers but also in terms of system change. Our system is deeply vulnerable to breaking under the pressure this winter.

“We need to increase capacity in our acute hospitals, but investment in primary care will be key in easing pressures in acute hospitals. Everyone knows we should be increasing our capacity locally in our communities, including GP services, out of hours GP care and primary care centre solutions. Early intervention is key to reducing our crisis waiting lists and preventing people from needing hospital care in the first instance. Investment is needed, but a vision and drive for change to primary care will be fundamental in this.

“We have had many wasted years by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil when it comes to care in this country, with nothing done to tackle persistent and unrelenting issues within the service. Enormous credit is due to our health workers, our nurses, cleaners, porters and so many other key workers across the public health service and in the private sector for their selflessness and dedication throughout Covid. However, it’s simply not good enough for these frontline workers to be expected to pick up the slack for government across hospital corridors nationwide.”

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