Saturday 17 August 2019

Is it any wonder nurses are considering strike?

We have come to a sorry pass when nurses resolve to take industrial action to highlight the problem of overcrowding in our hospitals.

No longer willing to face a steeplechase over trolleys to treat their patients, they have deemed that enough is enough.

With the health and wellbeing of both patients and staff being an issue, it is quite clear a radical rethink is required.

Attacking an individual minister, or even Government, for problems that have been neglected for many years seems somehow futile.

Nonetheless, Minister Varadkar's commitments on trolley targets, coupled with the Coalition's abandonment of Universal Health Insurance, do not instil confidence.

Against such a background, Mr Varadkar yesterday triggered an action plan to free up beds and divert emergency patients elsewhere. It kicks in when numbers reach a certain level. He still insists that the most recent figures show numbers on trolleys are lower for November 2015 than November 2014. None of this sounds terrifically reassuring, given the billions pumped into health annually.

And given that it is the elderly that bear the brunt of the suffering and that, this year, up to 80,000 patients have been on trolleys for more than 24 hours, we simply have to do better.

Irish Independent

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