Stakeholders await Minister on hospital overcrowding crisis

Stakeholders await Minister on hospital overcrowding crisis

The Health Minister is due back at his desk today and expected to issue a statement on overcrowding in hospitals, which reached record levels yesterday.

There has been criticism of the lack of a statement from Leo Varadkar, as Emergency Departments continue to be swamped. It is understood he was out of the country yesterday.

Meanwhile, SIPTU has called on HIQA to immediately inspect hospitals around the country where patient and staff safety is threatened by severe overcrowding.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation reported there were over 600 patients waiting on trolleys and chairs in ED's yesterday.

Members of the INMO are to ballot for industrial action over the crisis.

The Secretary of National Association of General Practitioners, Dr Keith Swanick, said GPs could help reduce ED attendances - if they're given proper resources.

"Resource primary care properly, hire more practice nurses, allow GPs to purchase equipment - like 24-hour blood pressure monitors… so we can expand out investigations in the community, thus preventing people having to go, unnecessarily, into the secondary care systems," he said.

Meanwhile, groups working with older people say the hospitals crisis will not be dealt with until the government increases home help hours.

The charity ALONE says home help has been cut by 1.6 million hours in the past three years.

It also notes a 200% increase in the number of older people waiting for nursing home places on the Fair Deal scheme.

According to ALONE, there are almost 700 older people in hospital beds who are waiting to be discharged.

The charity's CEO, Sean Moynihan, said unless the government acts, the hospital admissions crisis will never end.

"The amount of nursing home beds and community services being developed, instead of being increased, has been cut back," he said.

He called on the Government to demonstrate the same solidarity they showed in December on the issue of homelessness, after a man died near Leinster House, "were they brought all the stakeholders together and came up with a long-term plan."


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