Fianna Fáil: Trolley crisis could be solved if the Govt spent taxpayers money correctly

Fianna Fáil: Trolley crisis could be solved if the Govt spent taxpayers money correctly

Hospital overcrowding and the trolley crisis could be solved if the Government spent taxpayers money correctly, Fianna Fáil has claimed.

The party is calling for funding to be directed into homecare packages, increased supports for GPs to keep patients out of hospitals and measures to free up beds.

Bringing forward a Dáil motion on issues in the hospital system, Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly said 100,000 men, women and children have been left waiting on hospital trolleys already this year.

“There was a time when 500 on trolleys would have been an infrequent occurrence. However, under this government and Minister for Health it is a daily event.

"What was appalling has become the norm. Is it any wonder that senior doctors say the Minister is complacent and deaf to the suffering of patients across Ireland?

"September was the worst September for overcrowding on record with double the number of people waiting on trolleys compared with the same month ten years ago.

"The facts speak for themselves. A major crisis is unfolding in our Emergency Departments," said Mr Donnelly.

He pointed out that by the end of October, 13,466 people over 75 years of age had endured emergency department waits of more than 24-hours, a third more than for the same period in 2018.

"The master of the Rotunda recently warned that it's only a matter of time before newborn babies are injured or die as a result of overcrowding," said Mr Donnelly.

Waterford TD Mary Butler said the average home care support package is €165 a week but it costs €1,300 a week to stay in a nursing home and around €6,000 a week as a patient in an acute hospital.

"This year the government spent €453 million on home care supports, yet there are still 7300 people waiting for the support," said Ms Butler.

She added that older people are now afraid to go to Emergency Departments as "they would rather stay at home than die in a corridor on a trolley".

Mr Donnelly claimed that many of the issues around overcrowding could be solved within the current health budget if resources were reallocated.

"Most of what we're looking for is not a huge capital outlay. It's just spending the money properly so for example, we have a chronic shortage of emergency medicine consultants. One of the main reasons we have that is because of the new entrant pay disparity.

"The full-year cost of fixing that we believe is around €20m. When you then begin to account for the reduction in locum fees, it actually gets lower and lower. And if you do this right, it should pay for itself," he said.

"We need proactive measures which do not appear to be forthcoming."

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