September 17, 2021

‘We need an urgent plan’ – Waterford TD calls on Health Minister to explain how he will solve waiting lists as figures hit 819,000

Waterford TD David Cullinane has called on Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to urgently produce a health plan after new figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund showing hospital waiting lists hitting a record high of 819,000,

“Over the last number of months, our health services have responded to an unprecedented health emergency. Managing both Covid and non-Covid care has presented major challenges and has seen a reduction of hospital appointments, medical procedures and screening services,” Deputy Cullinane, the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, said.

“As a consequence, wait times have massively increased and have hit a record high of 819,000. 601,300 patients are now waiting for an inpatient appointment. Covid-19 has exposed a healthcare system which does not have enough beds, enough consultants or enough nurses and other allied health professionals.

“As we approach the winter season, our acute hospitals are facing a perfect storm. Up to 40% bed capacity could be lost due to social distancing and infection control guidelines.

“We need an urgent plan to massively and rapidly increase capacity. Sinn Féin has published a fully costed €2b plan.

“It calls for a marshalling of resources to maximise bed numbers in acute hospitals, rapid build of modular units, sourcing appropriate physical space in communities and leveraging at cost care at private facilities.

“We also need to address the two tier nature of consultant contracts and working conditions for all on the front line. We need to guarantee a contract for all nurses available for work.

“We are facing an unprecedented crisis on a scale never seen before. We need a response on a scale never seen before.

“Sinn Féin has published its plan. Minister Donnelly must publish his also.”

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