Fine Gael and the Labour Party are issuing a stream of promises about what they will do if re-elected. But the promises made in 2011 turned about to be a fiction.
People Before Profit general election candidate for Cork South Central, Jim O’Connell, said:
‘In 2011, Fine Gael issued an advertisement with a picture of Enda Kenny saying, ‘I will end the scandal of patients on trolleys’. Yet on Tuesday, there were 560 patients on trolleys in Irish hospitals. Cork University Hospital, for example, had 32.
‘When Fine Gael was elected to government, a total of 8329 patients had suffered the indignity of being left on trolleys throughout 2011. By January 2015 that had risen to 8684 – an increase of 4 percent.
‘Health Minister Leo Varadkar is aware that the nurses union, INMO, maintains a daily trolley watch count and has attempted to cut the number by crisis management. HSE managers are cancelling scheduled hospital operations to increase resources for A&E departments. Last year, for example, a record number of 13,000 operations were cancelled.
‘But this strategy is not working because it does not tackle the root of the problem – the closure of hospital wards and the reduction of hospital staff by approximately 10,000.
‘We need to invest to create a high quality health service and pay for it through progressive taxation. In the longer term, this will save money as many people are now paying three times – through private health insurance, taxes and hospital charges – for a poor service where they may end up on a hospital trolley’.