Saturday 19 January 2019

Health Minister Simon Harris cancels St Patrick’s Day trip to Europe due to hospital trolley crisis

Health Minister Simon Harris
Health Minister Simon Harris

Kevin Doyle, Group Political Editor

Health Minister Simon Harris has cancelled his St Patrick’s Day trip to Belgium and The Netherlands due to the hospital trolley crisis.

The minister is to remain in Dublin for the week, saying it “would not feel right” to travel abroad while hundreds of people are on A&E trolleys.

In a tweet this evening, he said: “People across the health service are working extraordinarily hard to make progress in what is a difficult week.

“I am in regular contact with HSE. It would not feel right to me as Minister to travel for St Patrick’s Day so I have made decision not to do so.”

The numbers waiting for a hospital bed reached a record-high of 714 yesterday but dropping back to 649 today.

Mr Harris’s schedule included meeting with ministers in both countries about drug pricing and supply.

Ireland recently signalled an interest in joining the existing collaboration, known as the BeNeLuxA Initiative, in a bid to get cheaper drugs.

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