Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has claimed that cracks in our under resourced  Health Service are widening under Minister Simon Harris’ watch.

The Sinn Féin TD accused him of failing to meet the needs of patients after it was revealed today that cancer operations are being cancelled in significant numbers as a result of overcrowded hospitals.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“Health Minister, Simon Harris, is clearly out of his depth in his job and the cracks in our under resourced health service are widening and getting worse every day. As a result patients are suffering unnecessarily and that is simply unacceptable.

“It’s not just opposition politicians that are saying this. According to the Irish Hospitals Consultants Association the unresolved problems in our hospitals are now at such a critical level that patient care and safety is compromised on a daily basis, and that this practice is resulting in the cancellation of essential surgery with increasing frequency.

“They also go on to say our capacity to deliver care has deteriorated to the point where surgical appointments for cancer patients are now being cancelled in significant numbers. Cancer treatment had been prioritised as a model of care but increasingly this is another area that is seeing longer response times, waiting lists and cancelled surgeries.

“As a direct result of the Minister’s failure to tackle hospital overcrowding, hospitals are now cancelling surgeries for cancer patients in ever increasing numbers.  This is putting the safety and chance of survival of these patients at an even greater risk.

“Longer waiting lists for suspected cancer sufferers mean that response times are slower and treatment or surgery is inevitably delayed.

“The health crisis has gone on for so long under both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil administrations that many people have become despondent or feel helpless to the endless horror stories that emerge week in week out from our health services.

“Many of those same people believe that if you eventually get into the health system, as bad as it is, that care will somehow follow. Unfortunately this is increasingly not always the case and in more and more cases the failure and long delays are being reported by frustrated family members and patients.

“It is simply unbearable to think of the anguish and worry that families of critically ill patients have to endure after being told that long awaited operations or lifesaving surgery is cancelled due to the lack of a bed.

“We need to adopt new approaches and to respond with greater urgency to these health challenges.

“Sinn Fein’s ‘Comhliosta’ proposal, which the Minister has already responded positively to, is a system that would allow patients to transfer across different hospital lists to get on to the shortest possible one.  It is a system which works well in places like Portugal and we want to replicate it here.

“We must prioritise this because we cannot stand over a system that fails cancer patients, women and children, that leaves our sick and elderly on hospital trolleys, and over 600,000 patients languishing on waiting lists many of them in chronic pain.”