Sunday 17 December 2017

'I want to break the vicious trolley crisis cycle' - Health Minister goes into crisis talks with HSE

Minister for Health Simon Harris. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Minister for Health Simon Harris. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Ryan Nugent and Denise Calnan

Health Minister Simon Harris said he wants to "break the vicious cycle that has dogged" his predecessors - as he went into crisis talks with the HSE task force this morning.

Mr Harris said he wants to put in place the building blocks to break the cycle - by adding bed capacity and staff to overcrowded HSE hospitals across the country.

Also heading into the crunch talks at Dr Steeven's Hospital in Dublin, Stephen McMahon of the Irish Patients Association said the meeting was vital given the "unprecedented" levels of patients on trolleys.

He said the meeting would be "very open and very frank" to understand why the number of patients on trolleys were almost triple what they has hoped.

Liam Doran of the Irish Nurses and Midwives organisation said hospitals are 3,500 nurses short and said consultants must be available all weekend as he went into the meeting.

"Between now and the end of March we've got to really change work practices, we've got to have longer extended day presences of consultants, we've got to have cross consultant discharge of patients at weekends and out of hours, we've got to have nurses led discharge during the week," he said.

The number of patients on trolleys on Friday totalled 395, down from a record-breaking 612 on Tuesday morning.

University Hospital Limerick continues to be the worst-hit hospital with a total of 41 patients on trolleys, while the Mater is now the worst-hit hospital in the Dublin with a trolley count of 25.

Letterkenny General Hospital and University Hospital Galway also recorded high trolley numbers with 30 and 31, respectively.

More to follow

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