Irish Medical Organisation

Statement by Irish Medical Organisation - Overcrowding in Hospital Emergency Departments

Statement by Irish Medical Organisation.

Overcrowding in Hospital Emergency Departments

Stop blaming flu….Overcrowding and cancellations of procedures are inevitable until Government invests in extra beds for public hospitals and creates a working environment that is attractive to Irish trained doctors 

Tuesday 3rd January 2016.  Dr. Peadar Gilligan, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Beaumont Hospital and Chairman of the IMO Consultant Committee, has said that the crisis of overcrowding will continue until the cuts to bed numbers in public hospitals are reversed and policies are changed to make Ireland an attractive location for Irish trained doctors to want to work in.

Speaking today, Dr. Gilligan said that the root causes of this recurring overcrowding was a lack of beds, a lack of doctors and other staff and a poorly resourced GP infrastructure; “politicians often complicate what is a very simple explanation for our overcrowding crisis.  It’s not because of seasonal issues or a spike in flu cases.  It’s because politicians knowingly and deliberately took 1600 beds out of our hospitals, introduced policies that were a direct cause of doctors emigrating and failed to invest in General Practice.  All this at a time when our population was rising and there are more elderly people than ever before in need of healthcare.  It doesn’t get simpler than this; we’ve reduced the size of the container but we’re still trying to get more and more into it every day.  It just won’t work.”

Dr. Gilligan criticised the response of successive Governments to the problem; “To those of us working in the system there is no surprise in the numbers, in fact it is nothing short of a miracle that they are not even higher.  It’s time to treat this matter with the seriousness it deserves rather than expressing disappointment and surprise each time it manifests itself.  Full capacity protocols have their place in extreme cases but they too are now becoming the norm which will mean more problems down the line for patients as their long awaited procedures are postponed.  Patients who are on trollies in our Emergency Departments need a hospital bed not more promises.  Government must act now and  commit the funds required to run our health services to meet the real demand not some notional level of activity.”

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