Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has described the recent “Trolley Watch” figures released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) showing that there is a record high of 656 patients on trolleys as frightening, unacceptable and demanding change

The Sinn Féin TD said:

“We are in the middle of winter, a flu epidemic has hit Ireland, and our hospital wards and Accident and Emergency structures are creaking at the seams.

“Last year’s figures from the INMO showed a record total of 98,981 patients admitted to our hospitals were left waiting on a trolley, a 6 per cent rise.

“We are now hearing more unwelcome news a couple of days into the new year, with 656 patients being left on a trolley in a single day the Government has broken another record.

“These figures are truly frightening and unacceptable. The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, needs to open all closed beds to deal with the capacity issues in the health service.

“Sinn Féin have repeatedly said that given the huge number of patients on trolleys all through 2017, that an outbreak of flu would put huge additional pressure on our health service and healthcare workers.

“All through last year my colleagues and I said that if the Minister for Health was really serious about addressing the issues which created this trolley crisis, then he would need to tackle four main areas including recruitment and retention of staff, reopening closed beds, adequate step down facilities, and proper primary and community care. He hasn’t tacked any of these areas.

“Clearly the Minister for Health is out of his depth and it is hard pressed hospital staff and patients who are experiencing the negative impact of his lack of initiative in this area.

“There are solutions to address to the trolley crisis but no real effort is being made to resolve it. The undeniable proof is the 98,981 people that were left on trolleys in 2017 and the 656 patients left languishing on trolleys this week.”