Government needs to increase hospital bed capacity, says FF

Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher refers to consultant’s warning people will die

Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher has called for a Government initiative to increase bed capacity in hospitals

Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher has called for a Government initiative to increase bed capacity in hospitals

 

Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher has called for a Government initiative to increase bed capacity in hospitals.

“Overall, in the past number of years, there has been a consistent downgrading of the ability and capacity of our emergency departments to function,’’ he said.

Mr Kelleher said Dr Fergal Hickey, a consultant at Sligo general hospital, had said on Thursday on the RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that people were going to die.

Dr Hickey had said it was not scaremongering but a prediction of what was going to happen, he added.

Six weeks ago a €40 million winter initiative had been announced to ensure there would not be overcrowding in emergency departments, said Mr Kelleher.

“However, as we face into the start of the winter, we find this initiative is already failing,’’ he added.

“We had 528 people on trolleys in our emergency departments across the country yesterday.”

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohue, who was taking Opposition Leaders’ Questions, said the Government had put in place a very substantial increase in the funding of the health services.

It now stood at €14.6 billion, which was the most available to the Department of Health and the HSE ever.

It represented a €900 million increase, he added.

The investment was facilitating the building of a 75-bed ward in University Hospital Galway and emergency departments and extensions were being opened elsewhere, said Mr Donohoe.