21 July 2010

Number of patients on trolleys at Tallaght Hospital up 30% on last year - Fitzgerald

Fine Gael Seanad Leader and Seanad Spokesperson for Health, Senator Frances Fitzgerald, today (Tuesday) said recent INMO Trolley Watch figures show that the number of patients on trolleys in A&E in Tallaght Hospital last month had soared by a staggering 30%, from 436 to 563 patients, on the same time last year.

"In recent days a number of people have contacted my office about the unacceptable number of patients waiting on trolleys at Tallaght Hospital A&E, which reached a high of 44 patients on Wednesday of last week (14 July). Rather than any improvement having been made over the last year, with regard to the numbers on trolleys, the situation has gotten drastically worse with an additional 127 people waiting on trolleys at the hospital last month compared to the same time last year.

“While a 30% increase in numbers is astounding, given state of our healthcare system which is presided over by this Government and the HSE, I cannot say I am all that surprised.

"In 2006, Minister Harney declared A&E overcrowding a ‘national emergency’, vowing to solve the problem. However, more than four years later, rather than overcrowding getting any better it is actually getting worse, with INMO figures showing an unprecedented high of 500 people on trolleys nationwide one day last January.

"Trolley waits are not acceptable to me and they are not acceptable to patients. Part of the reason we have so many patients on trolleys is because there is inadequate GP coverage in the area, leaving patients with no choice but to rely on their local A&E for medical intervention and treatment. If Fianna Fáil and the Greens concentrated on getting the basics right by ensuring sufficient GP and Primary Care coverage, a real difference to the trolley figures could be made. Instead, we have a Government that has given up the fight.

“Fine Gael’s FairCare Policy, will radically transform our health services. By developing primary care, establishing a special Service Deliver Unit and providing sufficient home care support we will radically reduce our A&E waiting lists. FairCare provides the vision for our health service and we are determined to put it into action.”