Government "dodging the issue" of moving services from UHG to Merlin Park to solve overcrowding at the UHG Emergency Department is "unhelpful" and "the people of Galway and the west of Ireland deserve better."
This is the view of Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish who has condemned the Government's attitude to solving overcrowding at the Emergency Department of UHG - despite An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, indicating support for the idea of moving services from UHG to Merlin Park.
Dep Grealish also expressed disappointment with a response he received from Health Minister Simon Harris in response to a Dáil question regarding "precise details" on a timeframe for when services might be moved. "
"The Minister outlined a number of planned developments at Merlin Park which are separate to what I was proposing," he said. "He undertook to have the HSE reply to my question directly. The response didn't provide any information and we are left still waiting for some indication that they are actually taking steps towards this idea, which would not be the total solution but would at least go a long way towards making things better.”
Dep Grealish said his impression from Government responses was that it would "endeavour to use Merlin Park to ease the pressure on emergency, acute, and complex elective care at UHG" and would continue to review services suitable to be transferred.
However, the Carnmore TD said aspirations and future plans are of no use to the 60,000-plus people attending the emergency department at UHG each year "who end up spending days and nights on trolleys"; the 7,430 people currently waiting for a year or more for outpatient treatment at UHG; or the 3,279 waiting for inpatient or day case operations.
“Imagine having to wait more than a year for vital cardiac surgery — there are 164 people in that position, these are someone’s mother or father, brother or sister, son or daughter," he said.
Dep Grealish said a proper plan must be outlined, detailing what services can be moved to ease the pressures on UHG, along with a "precise timeframe for when this will happen". He said he will raise this issue again with the Minister for Health. "I am not going to be fobbed off like this," he said. "The people of Galway and the west of Ireland deserve better."