Dep Hildegarde Naughton has this week endorsed the statement by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation that streamlining of services at University Hospital Galway has not solved the overcrowding crisis, and that additional bed capacity is needed.
The INMO said last week that the policy of streamlining services at the hospital had not solved overcrowding, and the organisation has contended that the only solution to the ongoing crisis is the provision of more beds.
Dep Naughton, who is a member of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare, endorsed the INMO statement and said it was further proof that the solution to the overcrowding crisis lay away from the UHG campus.
“Nurses at UHG are absolutely correct in their assessment that the overcrowding crisis cannot be addressed without substantially increasing the number of available inpatient beds,” the Fine Gael TD for Galway West said.
“However, it is also clear that bed capacity at UHG cannot be increased due to spatial and planning restrictions – meaning that the development of hospital facilities at a new site is the only viable long-term solution.
“Both the catchment area for the hospital and the population of that catchment area has increased significantly in recent years, and is projected to increase into the future.
“If we are to provide for the healthcare needs of our current, ageing population — let alone the next generation — then we need to make plans for the development of new hospital facilities,” she added.
Deputy Naughton has led the campaign for a new hospital at HSE-owned lands at Merlin Park since her election to the Dáil last year. The campaign has since attracted the support of hospital management, staff, and local public representatives.
“There were 41 people on trolleys at UHG yesterday,” she said on Monday. “That’s not atypical and it is not going to get better unless we take action now to plan for the healthcare needs of this generation and future generations in Galway and the broader region.”