Updated: 18/11/16 : 06:05:32
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Sligo consultant warns of more winter hospital deaths

A Sligo University Hospital consultant has warned that more deaths will occur unless the bed capacity at Irish hospitals is increased.

Dr Fergal Hickey, a specialist in Emergency Medicine was speaking yesterday morning on RTÉ Morning Ireland and on main RTÉ TV news bulletins where he said that more people were going to die.

Dr Hickey had said it was not scaremongering but a prediction of what was going to happen.

It is not the first time Sligo medic has issues dire warnings. See link below

In January last year Dr Hickey said that "somewhere between 300 and 350 people will die between now and this time next year due to overcrowding in our emergency departments."

“This is something that we have been talking about for over a decade. It is depressing that we are in the same situation that we were in last January and the previous January.”

“In spite of clearly identified things that are needed to help, the problem hasn’t been addressed. That’s because it isn’t a political or management priority for the Department of Health and the HSE.”

Initiative

The Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher TD in calling for a Government initiative to increase bed capacity said, "Six weeks ago a €40 million winter initiative had been announced to ensure there would not be overcrowding in emergency departments.

“However, as we face into the start of the winter, we find this initiative is already failing,’’ he added.

“We had 528 people on trolleys in our emergency departments across the country yesterday [Wednesday].”

“Overall, in the past number of years, there has been a consistent downgrading of the ability and capacity of our emergency departments to function,’’ he said.

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohue, who was taking Opposition Leaders’ Questions yesterday, said the Government had put in place a very substantial increase in the funding of the health services.

It now stood at €14.6 billion, which was the most available to the Department of Health and the HSE ever.

It represented a €900 million increase, he added.

The investment was facilitating the building of a 75-bed ward in University Hospital Galway and emergency departments and extensions were being opened elsewhere, said Mr Donohoe.

Link: Sligo Today 7/1/2015