National Hospital Campaign Being Developed to Fight for Functioning A&Es
Commenting on the latest HIQA report on the crisis in Hospital A&Es, chairperson of the Save Navan Hospital Campaign Peadar Tóibín TD has stated;
"Its time for people to push back. The crisis in the Health Service has never been as damaging to people's lives and health. Last Monday we organized protests outside of Navan, Drogheda, Cavan, Mullingar, Ennis, Limerick, and Nenagh A&Es. Its clear that harnessing the power of these campaigns and the many others around the country is now necessary to force the government and the HSE to to reform and invest into front line HSE services".
"Last week I spoke to the family of an elderly man who had gone to a GP surgery with respiratory problems seeking an appointment with a doctor. He was told to come back in January. Yesterday I was speaking to the family of a 79 year old one who had an infection, she called the doctor and was told to come back in January.
She called doctor on call last night and she could not get an answer. I spoke to a woman from Ballivor who called NE Doc on call on last week, Navan was closed due to no doctors being available and she was told to go to Castleblaney that’s a distance of 81km is the frost and the fog.
On Thursday night last the paediatric A&E was so full that parents were told to wait with their sick children in a car in the car park. In some cases children had to sleep in their car in the sub zero tempreatures.
The previous Saturday Drogheda A&E because a long term car park for 11 ambulances because there wasn’t a bed, a trolley or a chair left in A&E.
Because these ambulances were tied up, there was no ambulances available in the Cavan, Monaghan Meath area for hours.
November was the worst month on record for trollieys. 100,000 people waiting on trollies so far this year. This is leading to death. There is a direct correlation between waiting on trollies and waiting in A&E and death. Its estimated to be in the region of 360 deaths a year.
Workers are leaving the sector in their droves because of the pressure that is being put in their shoulders. This is a vicious circle as it increases the pressure on remaining staff. There are 700 missing consultants in the health system.
There are currently 897,300 people on a hospital waiting list in this country. People whose illnesses are getting worse, who will need more expensive and more invasive treatment.
Last year there were 105,000 adverse incidents in the health care system last year a significant jump from in the last number of years. These are people who have been damaged, made ill, and in some case been disabled or lost their lives as a result of mistakes in the Health system, many of these no doubt due to the pressure put on staff.
The state has paid €2billion in medical negligence claims in just 5 years. Money that should have been invested in front line resources.
There are nearly 600 medically discharged patients in hospital today, who have no need to be in hospital but because of a lack of step down services and home care packages they cant leave. Its incredible hard to hire home carers in the average salary of €12.95. There is a problem here.
I put in a PQ recently that got the response that the state is paying on average €27.12 per hour for the provision of home care. So the professional who is doing the demanding working is getting less than half the money being paid by the state for the work. There is something wrong with this model that the worker doing the worker gets less than half the money provided.
And during all that the HSE determined to reduce capacity in the region. It has taken the first step towards closure of Navan A&E but implementing a bypass protocol starting at 8am today. This will reduce the number of ambulances arriving at Navan by ½. This will put further pressure on the surrounding hospitals.
In parallel to all this the HSE has been involved in a public battle with the Minister for Health. On numerous occasions the Minister has directed the HSE to do something and the HSE have basically told the Minister to get stuffed.
In the last 10 days the HSE has rejecting the Ministers direction on the ambulance bypass. The bypass that will be implemented goes further than the slimmed down version that the Minister promised.
One of the most significant outcomes of all of this is that HSE management is becoming increasingly isolated. First of all the this is now a regional issue not just about the 220,000 people living in Meath. Secondly 17 consultants in Drogheda have written a letter to the Minister for health to say that these plans would be a threat to life and health of patients in the region. 4 Consultants in Drogheda have also written similar letter. Hundreds of doctors, nurses and medical staff in Meath have signed a petition opposing the downgrade and calling for investment to make Navan A&E safe.
The HSE actions led to protest in Navan, Drogheda, Cavan, Mullingar, Ennis, Limerick, and Nenagh on Monday. Such is the crisis across the country a National Hospital Campaign is developing to fight for health care".