Burton: Hospital overcrowding crisis 'can only be resolved by leadership'

Burton: Hospital overcrowding crisis 'can only be resolved by leadership'

Tánaiste Joan Burton has said that it is up to the managers of local hospitals to make sure that beds which are currently closed are made available to patients who need them.

She said that Health minister Leo Varadkar will work with managers to make sure they can accept as many patients as possible.

The INMO has said next week's planned strike of emergency department nurses will go ahead unless there is a major change in the numbers of people on trolleys.

The Tánaiste said that both the HSE and the Department of Health will need to show leadership if they are to have faith in measures to ease the crisis.

"That can only be resolved by leadership - leadership on the part of the HSE, leadership from the Department of Health," she said.

"Because we have great doctors and nurses, they're committed to their patients, we all know that, and given the resources that are now devoted to health in Ireland, we should be able to produce better results for everybody - particularly patients."

Earlier today, a leading consultant in emergency medicine in Cork has said that the free GP care scheme for children under 6 has led to a 30-50% increase in the number of children in emergency departments in the county.

Dr Chris Luke of Mercy Hospital Cork said that inundated GPs are referring more children to hospitals, and that extra services have not helped to alleviate the overcrowding crisis.

"If you invite under-6s into the health service they will come - it's the old (adage) if you build it they will come" he said.

"We've seen in the last 15 years, the more healthcare facilitate you build people will avail of them.

"But it doesn't seem to help the problem at the hub, in the actual major emergency department.

"It doesn't matter how much extra services you seem to provide, the work is kind of like a gas - it keeps expanding."

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