News & Media

We need to see Harris' winter health plan

10 September 2019

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Spokesperson on Health

Labour Party Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, has called on the Minister for Health to publish the HSE Winter Initiative in light of worsening trolley numbers.

Deputy Kelly said:

“Analysing the trends from INMO Trolleywatch figures, the amount of people on trolleys looks to hit an unprecedented number of 10,000.

“Excessive trolley numbers like these are not acceptable to patients, their families or those who have to work in these conditions.

“Once upon a time, you could have predicted a sharp rise in trolley numbers during the winter months, but now after eight years with Fine Gael at the helm in the Department of Health, thousands of people in trolleys in our Emergency Department every single month of the year is par for the course.

“Today according to the INMO, 489 people are lying on trolleys in hospitals across the country. If this is what it is like on a balmy autumn day, what kind of chaos can we expect on a dreary and cold December afternoon?

“While the Government seems to think everybody is distracted by the drama of Brexit, the spotlight needs to be back on Minister Simon Harris. We need to know when he is publishing his winter initiative. We can’t have a repeated case of last year, when Minister Harris waiting until the middle of December, when our health service was already at capacity, to try deal with the winter trolley crisis.

“We know that there are plenty of solutions to the now year round trolley crisis - more home help hours, community intervention teams, more beds. The solutions are there, they’ve been presented to the Minister for Health so many times but he continues to ignore this problem.

“We cannot have a situation like the Health Capital plan where its publication was delayed for months, we need to see Harris’ plan for winter in our health service within the next two weeks.”