Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has predicted a long winter of vulnerable people on hospital trolleys and he said it was down to government inaction and their failure to plan and invest wisely in our creaking health service.

The Sinn Féin TD’s comments come as the INMO published figures showing there were not enough beds for 11,452 patients across our hospitals in October.

Last year there were 397 patients on trolleys in Tallaght University Hospital in the month of October but this year the figure was 501, the highest amount since 2006

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“Trolley numbers are at their highest ever level. Home help hours are being frozen and cut. The lack of step down beds means many patients who are ready to be released are stuck in expensive hospital beds and unable to go home because of a lack of any supports that will enable them to lead independent lives.

“Disability services are also under attack from a lack of key personnel. Children with profound speech and language needs are waiting years on lists and the demands for special school places for children are at an all-time high

“Clearly we are seeing a perfect storm emerging and the health service is totally unprepared for the winter ahead. All through the summer the number of patients on trolleys has been higher than in previous years, and now the situation has dramatically escalated.

“If serious changes are not implemented soon then the health service could very well collapse under the sheer weight of mismanagement and incompetence from the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, and the HSE this winter.”