IHCA Statement on Hospital Overcrowding Figures Published 4 February 2020
IHCA President, Dr Donal O’Hanlon: “One month into the new year and we are facing the same issues as ever before. It feels as though politicians are almost immune to the numbers at this stage, and this is a huge concern to hospital consultants.
“But the veil of a general election cannot cover reports of 640 patients, including children, having been left waiting on trolleys in our hospitals today.
“The delivery of 199 beds was committed to by the end of January to tackle the major overcrowding and bed capacity failings during peak winter illness demand. These are not having a sufficient impact, at a time when hundreds more are needed.
“These patients can’t wait for the political bargaining of a new Government; they need access to quality care now. All our politicians, regardless of whether they are in Government or Opposition, should be committing to taking four key immediate steps:
- The delivery of 800 public hospital beds by end 2021 and fast-track the delivery of 2,600 additional beds by 2025;
- End consultant pay discrimination and fill the 500 unfilled permanent consultant posts;
- Introduce a maximum waiting time of four hours for patients presenting at Emergency Departments, AMUs or other public hospital units to be admitted, discharged or transferred to a more appropriate service;
- Introduce a maximum waiting time of 18 weeks to see a hospital consultant following a GP referral for inpatient/day-case hospital treatment.
“We must address staffing and bed capacity first, before we can make any tangible headway with tackling overcrowding and mounting waiting lists.
“The IHCA, other front-line organisations and patients shouldn’t have to be flagging these issues week in, week out. It’s time our health services and elected representatives took the practical decisions needed to resolve the decades old problems in our public hospitals”.