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'It is time for Harris to go'


There were nearly 5,000 patients left on trolleys at Sligo University Hospital in 2019, a situation described as a disgrace by Sinn Féin councillor, Chris MacManus who has called on the Minister for Health, Simon Harris to resign.

Cllr MacManus was Speaking after the release by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation INMO Trolley Watch figures for 2019.

The figure, he said pushed SUH unenviably into the national top ten of trolley figures for hospitals since the INMO have been gathering the data from 2006. The trolley figure for SUH in 2019 was 4,967, up from 4,183 in 2018.

"These figures whilst expected are a disgrace. The Minister for Health and Fine Gael are clearly not fit for the role.

"Fine Gael have been in government for almost nine years now, and they have held the health portfolio since then. They have utterly failed the people of Sligo, Leitrim and south Donegal.

"The figures show a startling increase from a figure of 784 in 2006 when the figures were first collated to an shocking 4,967 in 2019.

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"This is truly appalling and shows utter contempt from the Government. These are not just figures they are real people, people we know, often family members and many of them elderly often lingering on trollies for hours or days.

"Unless the government change tack immediately and listen to the positive proposals from opposition parties, the crisis will continue into the future. Enda Kenny infamously said, 'I'll end the scandal of patients on trolleys.'

"In Sligo, nearly 3,500 more had no bed last year in our University hospital since the year Fine Gael came to power in 2011.

"After nine very unsuccessful years in government, Fine Gael have managed to escalate the trolley crisis to levels never seen before.

"There are many solutions ranging from ensuring increased investment for transitional care beds, adequate step-down facilities, home care packages, and home help hours to ensure that all patients who can be moved home or to a more appropriate care setting all these will help.

"Two key issues need to be addressed as a priority. Firstly, to tackle the issue of capacity in SUH we need to start reopening all hospital beds in the region closed during the austerity years.

"Secondly, in order to address the recruitment and retention crisis across all grades in the health service, the underlying difficulties causing this crisis have to be tackled.

"These issues are working conditions, facilities, supports, training opportunities, promotion opportunities, and pay. I believe that this can be done if we have the political will to fully implement progressive alternatives. The situation cannot continue with these shocking figures. If almost 5,00 people on trolleys in Sligo during 2019 is not a wake-up call for this government one wonders when they will act decisively and intervene.

'We can see from nearly a decade in Government they have failed to deliver. Clearly the Minister isn't up to the job or hasn't the capacity to deliver the necessary resources needed for our hospital. It is time for him to go," said Cllr MacManus.