Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has said that the latest HIQA reports into emergency department dysfunction across the State show that widespread investment in capacity as well as reform of patient care is urgently needed for patients who rely on Tallaght University Hospital for healthcare

Teachta Crowe said:

“Emergency department waits have continued in the wrong direction in the last year, and now stand at an average of more than 20 hours in Tallaght University Hospital. This is very concerning for patients across south Dublin who need urgent access to care. It’s almost twice the state-wide average of 12 hours.

“Over 75s face an average wait of 18 hours. This is entirely unacceptable and can only lead to greater distress and suffering for older people who are in need of medical assistance.

“There is also a severe knock on effect on our ambulance services who are often left idling on the tarmac outside a hospital, unable to transfer patients to the hospital, which then results in the ambulance being pulled out of service for indefinite durations.

“We need significant investment in primary and community care, especially in training more general practice doctors and primary care nurses and allied health and social care professionals to move more care out of hospitals.

“Too many patients are being treated in the wrong place, at the wrong time, leading to costly delays in their care.

“Alternative care pathways and locations as well as additional step-down capacity, planned based on the health needs of communities on a local and regional basis, must be advanced.

“We also need to see much greater investment in public diagnostic capacity, with direct access for GPs as well as a modernisation of acute hospital diagnostic capacity to increase efficiency. We know that many of the lengthy ED delays are due to patients waiting for scans and their results.

“The Minister for Health is reacting to crisis after crisis with short-term measures, but we need a serious, multi-annual plan which addresses long emergency department waits through a reorientation of care, investment in capacity and in particular bed capacity, and greater attention and investment in workforce planning.

“Regionalisation, integration of care, and investment in the National Ambulance Service to provide better services as well as community-based services are all necessary components of such a plan.

“We will never reduce health waiting lists if we cannot get on top of the crisis in emergency departments, but this requires strategic multi-annual planning which has not been forthcoming from the Minister for Health.

“Staff at Tallaght University Hospital are working extremely hard to do their best to give patients the high quality care that they deserve, but the government’s failure to invest and plan is making their work harder. Patients who rely on Tallaght University Hospital deserve high quality care without unnecessary delays.

“Sinn Féin has the ambition and the detailed plan to invest in our health service and deliver the change that is so desperately needed.”