Harris must take responsibility for hospital “clinically unsafe” crisis – Tóibín
“The health service in this country is in a virtually unprecedented crisis, and Minister Harris is, let’s be honest, completely incapable of managing it. He has proven himself to be so. And the consequences of his incapacity are not only political – his mismanagement and ignorance of the job he is doing presents a real threat to people’s lives.”
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín has said that Minister Simon Harris should address the circumstances that lead to Limerick University hospital declaring itself to be “clinically unsafe” this week after an overcrowding crisis left 80 patients on trollies in the facility.
On Tuesday, the hospital reached a HSE status-black escalation level, which means the hospital is in a "critical position and clinically unsafe". This was lifted on Thursday morning after the number of patients on trollies fell to 70.
Mr. Tóibín said that a situation where the largest, and most important hospital in the Midwest region was declared clinically unsafe represented “the most damning indictment to date” of Minister Harris’s stewardship of the health department:
“University Hospital Limerick is the most important medical facility in the Midwest. And this week, it was declared clinically unsafe, at a time when hundreds of patients were depending on its services, and 80 patients were lying in corridors on trollies.
It is beyond a cliché for politicians to call this a disgrace, but in the circumstances, no other word fits. This happened on the same day that RTE news reported that a care facility for adults with intellectual disabilities was in breach of 13 out of 16 HSE regulations, only a few miles away in Clonmel.
The health service in this country is in a virtually unprecedented crisis, and Minister Harris is, let’s be honest, completely incapable of managing it. He has proven himself to be so. And the consequences of his incapacity are not only political – his mismanagement and ignorance of the job he is doing presents a real threat to people’s lives. People will die, if they have not already died, because of how the Minister is failing, and how his Government is facilitating those failures.
My heart goes out to all of the 594 people and their families currently lying on trollies in facilities across this country. It is time for a change in how we run the health service, and it is time for political accountability. Minister Harris must resign. If he was in the private sector, he would have been sacked a long time ago, and it would not have been controversial that he was”.