Reilly to tackle overcrowding


Minister for Health James Reilly has promised there will be no repeat of the recent hospital overcrowding which saw record numbers of patients on trolleys in emergency departments.

Dr Reilly was speaking following his first meeting with the board of the Health Service Executive (HSE) since taking over the portfolio.

In an interview following this morning's 90-minute meeting, Dr Reilly said he intends to make changes to the membership of the HSE's board within a month.

However, he added that the planned changes were due to commitments made in the Programme for Government rather than a reflection on existing board members.

"We are about to have radical reform of our health service and as part of that there are going to be reforms and changes of the board to reflect that," he told RTÉ News

Dr Reilly said both he and the HSE board were "singing off the same hymn sheet" with regard to the type of reforms identified, which he said included management and organisational difficulties.

"We know the destination we want to reach which is universal health insurance with free GP care, free access at the point of delivery, with equity of access for every man, woman and child in this country and I think everyone has brought into that,” he said.

“How we get there is the issue and I think the HSE, both management and all those who work in it, will have the opportunity to contribute to that,” the Minister added.

Dr Reilly also promised action to ensure that the issue of overcrowding in hospital emergency departments would not occur again. Some 569 patients were on trolleys in hospital emergency departments on January 5th, the highest daily total ever recorded by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

Senior emergency medics warned the situation was highly dangerous.

“This is my promise to the Irish people. You will not see again 569 people on trolleys in hospitals,” said Dr Reilly