Irish Examiner View: Stephen Donnelly must act to make health system fit for purpose

An elderly woman with a suspected broken hip being forced to wait for three hours in an ambulance outside Cork University Hospital’s emergency department is a situation that is intolerable and shameful.
Irish Examiner View: Stephen Donnelly must act to make health system fit for purpose
An elderly woman waited for hours in an ambulance outside Cork University Hospital. Picture: Larry Cummins
An elderly woman waited for hours in an ambulance outside Cork University Hospital. Picture: Larry Cummins

An elderly woman with a suspected broken hip

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Is this a return to the chaos in hospitals that preceded the coronavirus crisis? It certainly looks that way, as figures over the past three months show a major increase in the number of patients waiting for hospital beds as hospital lockdowns ease.

As the HSE relinquishes control of the private hospital system, it is essential that we rethink and regenerate our health service.

It was not fit for purpose before Covid-19.

It was not fit for purpose during the height of it when our ICU capacity was but a fraction of what it should be and, judging from the fact that yesterday 192 admitted patients were waiting for a hospital bed — the highest since March 9 — the indications are it will not be fit for purpose in the immediate post Covid era.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly must act to ensure that our health care is made fit for purpose. We can no longer tolerate a sticking plaster health service.

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