Senior HSE managers ‘swinging the lead’, Dáil told

TD claims failure of officials’ to do their jobs responsible for increased health service costs

Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny said the health service ‘costs so much because people are not doing their job’.

Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny said the health service ‘costs so much because people are not doing their job’.

 

The health service costs so much and has resulted in widespread hospital overcrowding because people in senior management in the HSE are “swinging the lead”, the Dáil has been told.

Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny said the health service “costs so much because people are not doing their job”.

He was speaking during a debate on a Fianna Fáil private member’s motion on hospital overcrowding. He said most people’s experience of overcrowding and long waiting lists was a direct result of understaffing in hospitals.

Mr Kenny cited the case of a nurse who applied for a job that she is currently doing through an agency. She was approved for the position but because the job had been approved in July and three months had passed, she has to again seek approval for the posting.

The Sligo-Leitrim TD said the people in the HR section told her she needed to “seek someone to try and get her own job approved” and there were hundreds of people in the same position whose jobs were already costing additional money because they were being employed through agencies.

“If we want to get a grip on this we need a Minister and senior people in the Department of Health who have backbone enough to stand up and make sure that people do their jobs,” he said.

Minister for Health Simon Harris said a lot of work had been done to cut the number of delayed discharges of patients to home support and the fair deal scheme. Additional funding had been provided since September and the average daily number of delayed discharges in October was 682, down from 757 in the previous month.

‘Too high’

“This is still far too high but it is now beginning to reduce and I expect that to reduce significantly further,” Mr Harris said.

He pointed out that the HSE winter plan was published last week, earlier than before, and that he had secured an extra €26 million to support its implementation.

He said nine winter action teams would support the provision of additional staff, weekend discharges, and intervention therapy teams to help avoid and reduce admissions of patients who are more frail.

Fianna Fáil health spokesman Stephen Donnelly, who introduced the debate, said the winter plan included no extra beds or clinicians.

He said that on Tuesday 534 men, women and children were waiting on trollies in emergency departments and in wards and that this increased to 577 on Wednesday.

He said the trolley figures in August, September and October “were the worst on record for each of those months” and that last month was the second worst month on record.

Mr Donnelly said that by the end of October last year more than 10,000 elderly men and women over the age of 75 had waited on a trolley for more than a day, but that this year the figure was 13,000.