Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady raised the issue of the crisis in the Health Service during a suspension of standing orders which he requested at this week’s County Council meeting. Last week seen 601 patients lying on hospital trolleys, many of whom are from Wicklow whilst the Health Service catering for Wicklow residents continues to be downgraded.
Speaking after the meeting the Sinn Féin Councillor said "After being contacted by Wicklow residents who had loved ones lying on trolleys in St Vincent's and Nass General Hospitals last week, I felt it was important to raise the current national emergency facing Irish hospitals at council level so action could be taken. Last week 601 patients were lying on trolleys, the largest ever recorded figure. Fine Gael and Labour had promised to bring this practice to an end. James Reilly as Minister for Health in 2013 said that never again would the country see more than 569 people waiting on trolleys in a single day. The sad reality is that this government seem to treat hospitals with the same disdain as they've treated all other vital services and funding that they've slashed as part of their austerity drive”.
Councillor Brady continued “Unfortunately Wicklow has been served appallingly by successive governments when it comes to the provision of vital health services. Unlike many other Counties we never had our own County Hospital, so we essentially have had to rely on neighboring counties. What services we did have in the County have been eroded by successive Governments. Fianna Fáil and the Greens closed down Wicklow District Hospital in 2010 along with 20 beds. They also closed the Orchard Welfare home in Bray with 39 beds and St. Bridget’s ward in St. Columcilles with 23 beds”.
“Fine Gael and Labour closed down the A&E in St. Columcille’s Hospital, adding additional pressure on the already overwhelmed St. Vincent’s Hospital and we have the continued threat to Crooksling, which is in Saggart, but serves the West Wicklow area”.
Cllr Brady went onto say “At the council meeting a motion was passed calling on the Government to immediately reopen St. Bridget’s ward in St. Columcilles to alleviate some of the pressure on the health service. I've also asked for a senior official from the HSE to attend the next council meeting to give an update on the provision of health services within Wicklow and outline what progress has been made if in in relation to the promised new Wicklow District Hospital in Wicklow Town”.
“Prior to the last general election Labour candidates promised us that a new hospital would be built to replace the then recently closed Wicklow District Hospital, they claimed a site had even been identified. Labour are now unfortunately in government and now they need to deliver. There is a national crisis in the health service and patients in Wicklow are suffering, reinstating closed wards and reopening facilities they have shut down will be a starting point in ending the crisis. I await a report that’s been requested and the opportunity to questions a senior Health Service manager at the next council meeting” Concluded Cllr Brady.