Health service will collapse if trolley crisis is not resolved

Duncan Smith TD
08 November 2022
  • HIQA must immediately inspect worst hit hospitals

Labour health spokesperson, Duncan Smith has warned that the public health service is in danger of complete collapse if the current trolley crisis is not resolved, care in the community is not prioritised and demanded that the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) immediately inspects hospitals where patient and staff safety is threatened by severe overcrowding.

His comments come following the publication of data from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) found that over 100,000 people went without bed in Irish hospitals in 2022 so far.

Deputy Smith said:

“We are very concerned that there is no plan to combat the clear and present danger severe overcrowding has for patient safety, dignity and care. It is unacceptable that these warning signs have not been picked up and that this growing national emergency in our hospitals has been allowed to fester. The statutory body tasked with ensuring levels of patient safety are maintained, HIQA, must now immediately inspect these high risk facilities. These hospitals are clearly overrun and understaffed. HIQA has the power to put the public’s mind at ease by investigating whether or not these hospitals are safe for patients and staff.

“The reality is emergency departments have become the bottleneck of the health service due to the lack of bed capacity, insufficient staffing levels and the failure to develop health services within the community.

“This crisis should never have been allowed to get to this stage. 100,000 people being left without a bed in 2022 and the routine cancellations of non-urgent elective care is a shocking indictment of a failing health service despite a record breaking budget allocations. We are here because if you don’t have the hospital beds, if you don’t recruit and retain nurses, health care assistants and emergency personal, you end up with the kind of dysfunctional health service that health workers are working in and patients are being treated in. This needs to change and change now.”

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