Crowe says sticking plaster approach to A&E crisis won’t work

Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has described the current trolley and emergency department crises as another manifestation of the failure of the Government’s winter initiative and their budgetary measures.

Crowe said that Minister Harris’s current sticking plaster approach won’t work and the same unrealistic approach hasn’t worked for any of his predecessors as the Government has failed to deal in anyway comprehensively with the underlying malaise in the health system.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“Unfortunately anyone visiting Tallaght Hospital or any other hospital across the state in the last couple of weeks can witness with their own eyes the challenges and daily difficulties facing our health service.

“Trauma hospitals like Tallaght are on the frontline dealing day in day out with critically ill patients and the lack of beds and adequate step down facilities is causing the backlog.

“As the trolley numbers fluctuate and as the Health Minister Simon Harris scrambles to give the impression that he is doing something meaningful patients are suffering.

“A sticking plaster approach won’t and hasn’t worked for his predecessors in the job.

“The failure of the Minister’s winter initiative and the lack of budgetary measures to deal comprehensively with the underlying malaise in the health system have meant that, as predicted, there has been chaos once again in our emergency departments as the toll of winter illness takes its hold.”

Deputy Crowe believes that Minister Harris was being delusional when he announced last autumn that the HSE was well equipped to deal with any crisis.

Last week saw a record 600+ patients on trollies nationwide as hospitals struggled to deal with the flu outbreak and Deputy Crowe said the Minister has to take responsibility for his role in the crisis.

He said.

“Minister Simon Harris was clearly living in cloud cuckoo land when he announced his winter initiative last September and confidently stated that he was satisfied that the HSE was sufficiently resourced to deliver the service plan. The HSE and the Minister’s lack of ambition and focus have led to the crisis.

“Without serious recruitment, staff retention and beds right across the services- from primary care to acute hospitals, the problem is getting worse. That was the case in September and continues to be the case today.

“This is reflected in the trinity of crises, we are seeing immediately post-Christmas, people on trollies, overcrowding and ambulances sitting waiting to deliver patients into some A&Es.

“Without meaningful engagement with unions, frontline staff, and medical professionals before ministerial announcements and fanfare, the Minister has no chance of dealing with the current crises.

“His announcement of an additional 63 extra beds across the State’s hospital system, while welcomed, is grossly insufficient.

“It is unrealistic to think that we can resolve the crises without any meaningful targeted recruitment and investment.

“The Minister’s latest notion of replacing staff with outside experts is pure optics and unlikely to resolve anything either. Quite simply there is a capacity issue in our hospitals and the Minister cannot continue to ignore this or try to distract from this reality.

“My party Sinn Féin have proposed significant investment in our alternative budget last year that would make available hospital beds, staffing, and ancillary services.

“The Government, with the support of Fianna Fáil TDs, decided to vote against that approach and its clear their proposals are not working.

“Increased beds, coupled with our proposal for a single integrated waiting list system, I believe would go a long way in getting our health service out of the cycle of crisis after crisis.”