Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has accused the Government of losing control when it comes to the trolley crisis. The Sinn Féin TD was responding to correspondence he received from a concerned consultant in Tallaght Hospital who described the situation of one disabled patient as a human rights violation. The patient was exposed to constant noise and artificial light for 72 hours, had inadequate access to sanitation, no privacy or dignified comfort, and was left lying on a trolley for 3 days.

Deputy Seán Crowe said: “Yesterday, along with many other public representatives, I received a letter from a concerned consultant in emergency medicine in Tallaght Hospital appealing for action on the bed crisis. The consultant outlined the case of one patient who has a learning disability and was left exposed to constant noise and artificial light for 72 hours. The patient also had inadequate access to sanitation, no privacy or dignified comfort, and was left lying on a trolley for 3 days.

“The consultant described the conditions forced on the patient as a human rights violation and I have to agree. “The Health Service Executive (HSE) Emergency Medicine Programme in 2012 promised that all patients attending an Emergency Department in Ireland would be seen and admitted within a 6 hour timeframe. This has clearly has not happened in this case or is not being delivered right across the hospital system. “In May 2012 HIQA published a damning report and issued 76 recommendations to end the dangers of overcrowding in all Irish Hospitals.

“This year there have been record numbers of people left on trolleys for the nine months of 2017 and this includes record high numbers of patients left on trolleys throughout the summer months. “The crisis shows no signs of abating with estimates putting 2017 as the first year we will have had more than 100,000 people on hospital trolleys. “Minister Harris has clearly lost control of the trolley crisis and is heading into the winter with no new initiatives as the situation is set to get increasingly worse. This is worryingly putting many more lives at risk.

“If the Government is serious about addressing the issues which created this crisis then it needs to tackle four main areas: recruitment and retention of staff, the reopening closed beds, adequate step down facilities, and a structured roll out of primary and community care. “Each of these issues is interlinked and if unaddressed they will continue to contribute to the trolley crisis, and on Emergency Department staff and their patients. “Winter is coming fast, and unless we see detailed plans and a radical change in approach from this Government then we will continue to see the trolley count rise and reach the all-time high of 100,000 patients on hospital trolleys this year.”