Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has said Fine Gael’s lack of planning for the health service throughout 2019 has consistently put the health of older patients at risk.

The Sinn Féin TD commented after figures released by the HSE showed that 467 patients over 75 years of age had to wait more than 24 hours for care in Tallaght University Hospital’s Emergency Departments between January and November 2019.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“All throughout 2019 Fine Gael have displayed disregard for all aspects of the health service and have no real plan to address the overcrowding crisis in Tallaght hospital.

“Figures released to Sinn Féin have shown that between January and November of last year 15,344 patients over the age of 75 had to wait over 24 hours for treatment in Emergency Departments around the State.

“In Tallaght hospital there were a staggering 467 patients aged 75 years or older left waiting more than 24 hours on a trolley.

“It is unacceptable on every level that many of our older citizens were left languishing on a trolley for two days.

“Older patients are often among the most vulnerable citizens in our hospitals due to their age and the additional medical needs that can sometimes accompany aging. Being treated urgently prevents escalation of injury and ensures safety and swift treatment.

“I have spoken to many staff members in Tallaght hospital and they are at boiling point. The doctors, nurses, and all the staff in Tallaght hospital do an amazing job but they are having to do more with less resources; they are treating more patients than ever before even though there is a recruitment and retention crisis across all areas of the health service.

“Fine Gael say the overcrowding issue at Tallaght hospital can’t be fixed overnight, but they have had eight years to make the necessary changes and yet they have just made things worse.

“For over a decade now Sinn Féin have been saying the solution is more capacity and more staff for Tallaght hospital – however, the government are damaging capital projects across the State due to the children’s hospital overspend, they have effectively  implemented a recruitment ban in the health service, they have consistently failed to properly implement a health service Winter Plan, and they now  appear to have no interest in implementing Sláintecare.”