NOTE: By submitting this form and registering with us, you are providing us with permission to store your personal data and the record of your registration. In addition, registration with the Medical Independent includes granting consent for the delivery of that additional professional content and targeted ads, and the cookies required to deliver same. View our Privacy Policy and Cookie Notice for further details.

You can opt out at anytime by visiting our cookie policy page. In line with the provisions of the GDPR, the provision of your personal data is a requirement necessary to enter into a contract. We must advise you at the point of collecting your personal data that it is a required field, and the consequences of not providing the personal data is that we cannot provide this service to you.

Don't have an account? Subscribe

Outgoing Health Minister accepts hospital overcrowding ‘unacceptable’

By Paul Mulholland - 03rd Feb 2020

Speaking to the Medical Independent in an exclusive interview before the general election, the outgoing Minister for Health Simon Harris has defended his and the Government’s record in dealing with emergency department overcrowding, despite record-breaking trolley counts over the last year.

“You have to acknowledge the fact we came to office after a period of time where over 1,500 beds had been taken out of the health service by the previous government, the health budget had been slashed by, I think, in and around €2 billion, the number of nurses had declined and the country had no money,” according to Minister Harris.

“So obviously the health budget began to rise again when Leo Varadkar became Health Minister.”

Minister Harris pointed out that over his predecessor’s tenure as Minister for Health and his own, approximately 700 inpatient beds have been opened, with the number rising to over 1,000 if day beds are included.

“I accept that hospital overcrowding is unacceptable, but I also think that patients and doctors think ‘What are you going to do about it?’,” he said. “The answer to that is really multifaceted, but a major part of it is capacity. We’re now putting in the capacity. It can’t come quickly enough, I fully accept that and we have a fully funded plan to deliver 2,600 hospital beds over the lifetime of the next government – that work is already well underway.”

During the interview, the Minister underlined his commitment to Sláintecare, in the face of criticism that the Government has been too slow in rolling out the plan.

“I give great credit to a number of the smaller parties I work with who are committed to driving forward Sláintecare,” according to Minister Harris.

“It’s easy for people to say they’re in favour of Sláintecare, you have to prove it by your actions.”

The Minister referred to plans to dismantle the HSE and remove private practice from public hospitals as evidence of the Government’s commitment to the strategy.

Leave a Reply

Latest Issue
The Medical Independent 20th February
The Medical Independent 20th February 2024

You need to be logged in to access this content. Please login or sign up using the links below.

Most Read