Tuesday 20 March 2018

Harris focusing on action - not 'buzzwords' like 'kick ass'

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

Philip Ryan and Ryan Nugent

Health Minister Simon Harris moved to distance himself from Transport Minister Shane Ross's suggestion that he would "kick ass" to solve the trolley crisis.

Mr Harris dismissed the Independent Alliance minister's comments and insisted he would rather focus on taking actions than engaging in "buzzwords or political soundbites".

Speaking ahead of an emergency HSE taskforce meeting, Mr Harris said: "This is an extraordinarily serious and difficult situation for patients. People who are ill have found themselves on hospital trolleys and staff have found themselves working in extraordinarily pressurised environments, so rather than engaging in buzzwords or political soundbites, I want to engage in substantive actions."

Mr Harris's comments came as the number of people languishing on hospital trolleys fell below 400.

The number of patients on trolleys yesterday totalled 395, down from a record-breaking high of 612 on Tuesday morning. The 395 figure is down 6pc on the same day last year.

Also heading into the crunch talks at Dr Steevens' 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" so as to understand why the number of patients on trolleys was almost triple what they had hoped.

Liam Doran of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said hospitals were 3,500 nurses short and consultants must be available all weekend.

Irish Independent

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