Real leadership needed to combat overcrowding crisis

03 January 2023

Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith has described the record numbers of people waiting to be admitted into hospital as calamitous yet entirely predictable.

Deputy Smith said:

“It is genuinely hard to believe overcrowding is worse now than during the once in a lifetime pandemic. However, here we are, with frontline health services in crisis all over the country.

“Since Stephen Donnelly was reappointed to Cabinet there has been nothing but absolute silence from the Minister for Health. No leadership or direction. It is unacceptable while tens of thousands of our frontline workers struggle to hold our health service together.

“Hospital management pleading with people to avoid hospitals is not a policy and is putting sick and vulnerable people in a terrible predicament. We also have the intolerable situation of Covid sick pay being shelved for all health workers. This needs to change and change now.

“What we need to see is the emergency resourcing of out of hours GP services immediately and our primary care services given all they need to relieve the pressure on our emergency departments. Private hospitals have again offered to help and while this may come at a cost, the HSE needs to use every option available as we understand we have not hit peak flu season yet.

“We need to see real leadership here from both the Minister for Health and the Taoiseach. The Covid sick pay scheme must also be restored and extended to all health workers.

“The Taoiseach said before Christmas that the HSE would be provided with all the resources they needed to avoid this crisis. Now, we need to see exactly what has been done to avoid this calamitous but sadly entirely predictable outcome.”

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