A Galway TD has expressed frustration with ‘unhelpful’ approaches towards finding solutions to overcrowding at the Emergency Department of UHG and long waiting lists for treatment at the hospital.
Deputy Noel Grealish claimed the Government was ‘dodging the issue’ despite Taoiseach Enda Kenny indicating support for the idea of moving services from UHG to Merlin Park Hospital.
The Galway West Independent Deputy expressed disappointment with a response he received from Health Minister Simon Harris in response to a Dáil question he had tabled seeking details and a timeframe for services that might be moved from UHG to Merlin Park, as well as a subsequent response from a HSE official.
“It’s not exactly helpful in trying to find a solution to the ongoing capacity problems at UHG when you ask for precise details of plans and you get a reply that’s like something out of Yes Minister,” he said.
“Neither response dealt with the question I had asked and we are left still waiting for some indication that they are actually taking steps towards this idea, which would not be the total solution but would at least go a long ay towards making things better.”
Deputy Grealish said that the Taoiseach Enda Kenny had agreed with him in the Dáil last November that the possibility of moving services from UHG to Merlin Park needed to be looked at and it was in this context that he had tabled a Dáil question seeking ‘precise details’ and a timeframe.
He further asked Health Minister Simon Harris if he would establish a minor injuries unit at Merlin Park to relieve chronic overcrowding in the Emergency Department at UHG, and to also outline a timeframe for this.
“The Minister outlined a number of planned developments at Merlin Park which are separate to what I was proposing and he undertook to have the HSE reply to my question directly.
“But what I got from them is also unacceptable, simply saying.they would ‘endeavour to use Merlin Park to ease the pressure on emergent, acute and complex elective care at UHG’ and would continue to review services suitable to be transferred..
“The Taoiseach himself told me in the Dáil back in November, when I raised it during Leaders’ Questions, that we need to look at the possibilities for Merlin Park and to move some of the services there to allow UHG achieve excellence in cancer.
“What good is this level of response to so many of the 60,000-plus people attending the Emergency Department at UHG each year who end up spending days and nights on trolleys.
“Or tell that to the 7,430 people currently waiting for a year or more for outpatient treatment at UHG, or the 3,279 waiting that long for inpatient or day case operations.
“Imagine having to wait more than a year for vital cardiac surgery — there are 164 people in that position, these are someone’s mother or father, brother or sister, son or daughter.
“Or what if you were one of the 93 people waiting more than 12 months to have a pain relief operation carried out. The speciality says it all, relief from pain that is so bad a consultant has decided that you need to get into a hospital operating theatre.
“What I want now is a proper plan to be outlined, detailing what services can be moved to ease the pressures on UHG and we need a precise timeframe for when this will happen.
“I intend to raise this again with the Minister for Health and I want proper answers, I am not going to be fobbed off like this. The people of Galway and the west of Ireland deserve better than the HSE dodging the issue,” added Deputy Grealish.