The Galway Hospice is the “solution to hospital-overcrowding crisis”, but if the Government “fails to see this” it raises “serious questions about this administration and its commitment to health-service reform in Galway”.
This is the view of Fine Gael Galway West TD Brian Walsh, who last night hit out at his own party and it’s coalition partners, accusing the Government of “dragging its feet” on the Galway Hospice’s need for “fair funding for its services”.
He said the recent allocation of additional funding to tackle delayed discharges from hospital would free up acute beds and reduce waiting times for admission. The Galway TD believes there is “a compelling argument” for some of this funding to be used to expand and enhance Galway Hospice services.
“The allocation represents an opportunity to address the longstanding injustice in funding of Galway Hospice; which has constrained its capacity to provide its invaluable services,” said Dep Walsh.
Freeing up beds in the hospital by moving some patients to the hospice, would in turn reduce occupancy of acute hospital beds by patients in the later stages of cancer, argues the TD, whlo added that some 50 per cent of all deaths that occur at University Hospital Galway are cancer related.
“If even a portion of these patients were cared for by Galway Hospice, as either inpatients or through the organisation’s home-care service, it would free up a large number of beds that could be used to increase surgical activity and slash waiting times,” said Dep Walsh.
The cost of providing an acute hospital bed is around €1,000 per night. Dep Walsh says a care package could be provided “at a fraction of this cost” by the Hospice, and allow the patient to be looked after in their own home.
Dep Walsh said successive health ministers have made numerous “declarations of support”, but “we have yet to see the action required to put Galway Hospice on a par with those in other counties”. “We’ve had some success, but it’s time that the Government stopped dragging its feet and put its money where its mouth is,” he said. “It is another opportunity for the Government to do the right thing, and – after four years of failure on this issue – its last.”