Speaking on recent figures showing that over six hundred patients, who had been clinically assessed as needing admittance to hospital, were left on trolleys because of closure of hospital beds:
This unprecedented crisis in our hospitals is an accumulation of bad policy from both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. Here in Mayo we have seen a continuous closure of beds over the past sixteen years. In Belmullet Community Hospital alone 20 of the 40 beds were closed by Fianna Fail who also put the moratorium on staff recruitment in place. Those responsible for these decisions must now be held accountable.
The scale of the number of ill patients on trolleys is shocking. However, it is only one element of failure to provide proper healthcare. Many patients are being sent home when they clearly need further treatment. Over the past number of months I have been contacted by many people who have been sent home untreated with broken bones and serious life threatening conditions. This is inevitable when you have a system without adequate staff numbers, proper equipment or physical space to treat patients. Meanwhile over 530,000 people are awaiting hospital appointments. If this is what Centre Right and Civil War Politics delivers then I think we should be unafraid of leaving it behind.
To then insult the intelligence of Irish citizens by telling them the current crisis has been caused by too many people getting the flu at the same time is beyond contempt.
Providing a health service for 4.5 million citizens should not be beyond the wit of the Governments. Sinn Féin is committed to the realisation of a world-class system of universal health care that is accessed on the basis of need, free at the point of delivery, and funded by progressive taxation for the Irish state. We believe there is no greater good worth striving for.