Call for funded targeted plan to tackle ‘now annual’ winter trolley spikes

Labour: ‘Yesterday’s trolley figures gave us a first glimpse into winter in the health service’

The Labour Party is pressing for a funded targeted plan from the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, to cope with winter spikes in trolley numbers.

Party Leader and Health Spokesperson Deputy Alan Kelly said yesterday’s (Wednesday, September 2) trolley figures gave a first glimpse into winter in the health service.

Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) TrolleyWatch figures stated that more than 221 people were on trolleys yesterday, the highest number since Covid-19 arrived on Irish shores.

Deputy Kelly expressed “a real sense of uncertainty on what winter will be like in our health service while we try to co-exist with Covid-19.”

Wednesday’s trolley figures gave a glimpse of what emergency departments would look like over the coming weeks.

Every year, he had called for a tailored plan to deal with the trolley crisis in winter, especially for University Hospital Limerick and Cork University Hospital, which traditionally saw large spikes of trolley numbers.

Deputy Kelly added that now, more than ever before, a funded, targeted plan for the midwest and southwest regions was needed.

“Our healthcare heroes have already been through so much this year. After all the emotional support this Government gave them through speeches, applause and lit candles, the least they deserve is a plan from Minister Donnelly and the HSE [Health Service Executive] to increase bed capacity, to avoid what we know are traditional spikes in trolley numbers.”

He maintained that additional bed capacity and extra staff were crucial to solving the now annual trolley crisis.

“The usual excuses on why we aren’t doing everything we can to stop pressure on our hospitals won’t wash with the public or with hospital staff,” believed Deputy Kelly.

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