HEALTH Minister Mary Harney is facing new calls for her resignation over the country’s ongoing emergency department crisis, after almost 150 people were left waiting on trolleys at a major hospital over two days this week.
More than three years after Ms Harney described the situation as “a national emergency” and claimed she would address concerns immediately, the Irish Nurses Organisation’s (INO) trolley count revealed 73 people were left waiting for emergency care at the Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Tallaght on Tuesday.
The figure, the highest ever recorded by the INO, was almost repeated the following day when 68 people were on trolleys at the same hospital.
Figures were also high in other parts of the country with Our Lady’s of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda (59 patients), Cork University Hospital (52), Beaumont (79), University College Hospital Galway (58), and St Vincent’s University Hospital (45) on trolleys on Tuesday morning.
Fine Gael Seanad health spokeswoman Frances Fitzgerald said: “Tallaght Hospital hit the highest number of patients on trolleys that the INO has recorded at a single hospital since it started doing so in 2004.
“The inescapable conclusion is that in five years Minister Harney has singularly failed to address one of the major problems in our hospitals and one of the most graphic symptoms of our ailing health service.
“Mary Harney is happy to preside over a failed health system which traps patients in a vicious circle of waiting — waiting for emergency care, waiting for diagnosis, waiting for treatment and waiting for discharge,” she said.
Labour health spokeswoman Jan O’Sullivan said the situation was another “shocking indictment” of the health service.
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