Saturday 25 February 2017

Why has HSE 'winter initiative' no plans to recruit vital staff?

Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Simon Harris. Photo: Tom Burke
Simon Harris. Photo: Tom Burke

Elderly people trapped on trolleys in hospital corridors for hours. Seriously ill patients, who have been on waiting lists for more than a year, turned away and told their surgery is cancelled because there is no bed for them. These could be the stark scenes in hospitals across the country on any winter's day.

However, it was the depressing picture to emerge yesterday as temperatures were at 17 degrees and 318 patients endured gruelling delays for a bed. It underlined how the trolley crisis is now a year-long grim reality.

It also might explain why there was so little fanfare around the HSE's launch of its underwhelming €40m 'Winter Initiative', with its catalogue of pledges to tackle worsening gridlock in the coming months. Worryingly, it will not kick in until late October.

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