Varadkar A&E Visits 'Pointless Public Relations Exercise'

Leo Varadkar's visits to Accident and Emergency wards has been described as a "pointless public relations exercise that will frustrate and bring cold comfort to patients on trolleys and deliver little if any administrative change to the hospitals he visited".

Sinn Féin's Seán Crowe said that over 4000 patients were on Accident and Emergency hospital trolleys or chairs during the month of December and that this number would be likely to increase in the month of January, regardless of the Ministers whistle-stop PR tour.

"In the month of December there was over 4,000 patients on Trolleys and chairs in hospital Accident and Emergency wards right across the State," Deputy Crowe said.

"In Dublin hospitals, there were 1,318 patients on trolleys.

"Last year, Taoiseach Enda Kenny had the brass neck to blame Tallaght Hospital staff on a crisis in Accident & Emergency and the awful scenario where an elderly 91 year old patient was left on a trolley for 29 hours.

"He conveniently ignored his own governments disastrous cuts to health funding, the removal of thousands beds from the hospital system, the shortage of key staff, the lack of step down facilities, the failure to roll out primary care facilities and the lengthening waiting list for life changing operations.

"Minister Varadkar's jaunt around the Accident and Emergency wards will be viewed by many staff and patients as more of the same posturing.

"Wall to wall media coverage of the Minister expressing sympathy and all the time distancing the Fine Gael /Labour administration from the fallout of his policies

"It seems to be a lot easier for Government politicians to blame hard working hospital staff or seriously ill patients for getting sick, rather than blaming the broken health system that their government has concocted.

"The Chief Executive Officer in Tallaght Hospital publicly warned back in 2013 that patient safety would be put at risk by budget cuts.

"What is happening in the Health Service is a direct manifestation of a continuity of cuts.

"Minister Varadkar will no doubt have lots to mull over this week after seeing some of the difficulties and the challenges facing hospital staff on a daily basis but no one has any confidence that his journey will deliver any change in direction or any relief for long suffering patients and hospital frontline staff."


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