Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has highlighted the widespread reluctance of seriously ill patients to attend Accident and Emergency Departments because of overcrowding and inhumane, unacceptable, and dangerous conditions in many of our hospitals.

Speaking after a Sinn Féin motion on the challenges facing the health service was debated in the Dáil, Teachta Crowe said:

“This week, I chaired a meeting of the Health Committee with senior HSE officials. It was a valuable meeting that served to highlight the damage that the failure to invest in hospital capacity, primary and community care, and workforce planning has done to our health service.

“We saw that again in the last Budget that there was not any additional funding for new acute inpatient hospital beds. Is it any wonder our hospitals are running out of chairs, not to talk of trolleys?

“I made a comment that I was reluctant to visit an Emergency Department and that that could have had very serious consequences. I was suffering from sepsis and only for the insistence of my wife Pamela to go to the Emergency Department, I probably wouldn’t have survived the night.

“It is understandable that people have genuine fears and misgivings about attending or sending a loved to an Emergency Department. Crowded settings, combined with long waits and discomfort, are the last place you want to be if you are immunocompromised, elderly or seriously ill.

“However, I would encourage anyone that perhaps does not have access to a GP to not allow their reluctance to be a burden to go to their A&E if they fear something is wrong.

“I have a very close relationship with Tallaght University Hospital and I would never be afraid walking through those doors of getting anything less than stellar care.

“But we must support them in their battle to provide that care.

“Nearly every hospital is swamped with patients in need of care and this Government has made the same commitments that they did last years and the year before.

“This was not an unprecedented crisis. The numbers may have been a record high but let’s not pretend that these same scenes do not play out every winter.

“The government had all the warnings of a double hit of Covid and flu. They didn’t even buy enough medicine for people suffering from respiratory infections.

“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have proven they have nothing to offer the Irish people in terms of a health service that works. They’ve only ever made it worse.”