An “urgent plan” is vital to address the crises of treatment cancellation and emergency department overcrowding at Galway University Hospital, and at hospitals across the west.
This is the view of Sinn Féin Galway West TD, Mairéad Farrell, who was speaking at a meeting on Tuesday morning of Sinn Féin TDs for the west and north-west regions.
“The increase in unscheduled emergency care and Covid care is placing huge pressure across all Saolta hospitals because they do not have enough beds and staff, and never have,” she said.
Dep Farrell has met with the executive management team of the Saolta Hospital Group, which provides public hospital services across Connacht-Ulster. According to the TD, the management said the hospitals were “under severe pressure”.
The TD said the problems were exacerbated by the failure to deliver major capital projects planned to expand hospital capacity.
“There are applications which have not been funded or expedited by the Government for much-needed bed capacity,” she said. “It will be into next year before works start on these and likely next winter before the capacity is in place because the Government failed to expedite these projects in Budget 2021.
'Lack of urgency'
“There is a lack of urgency about this from the Government. Both the capital approval and recruitment processes are taking far too long due to bureaucracy. This isn’t good enough. Patients in Galway are paying the price for the Government’s lack of planning and investment.”
Dep Farrell [pictured above] said she was concerned by the slow pace of the integration of primary, community, and acute care, and warned of a “looming crisis” in primary care as more GPs are “set to retire in the west than there are replacements in the coming years”.
She said: “People in Galway and across the West deserve better. Sinn Féin has detailed and deliverable plans to create an Irish NHS which would ensure patients receive high-quality, timely care and that staff are treated fairly.”