Speaking in response to the crises at Saint Vincents Hospital Emergency department where nursing staff have initiated a work to rule protest; Sinn Fein Councillor and candidate for Wicklow in the upcoming general election John Brady has said the dispute is a direct consequence of the closure of emergency services at Saint Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown.
“The nursing staff at St Vincents have taken this action due to the hospital’s failure to provide extra staff to care for overcrowding in the emergency department, and concern over the difficulty to provide the best possible care to their patients in such circumstances. They are under immense pressure with as many as 100 patients crammed into an area that is designed to care for just 18. Trolley numbers at St Vincents are up by almost 140 % in comparison to the same period last year. This reflects the problem nationally where hundreds of people are left on trolleys waiting on treatment along corridors in emergency units all over the state. I fully commend and support the nurses who have taken this action out of concern for patient safety.”
Councillor Brady went on to say that the consequences of closing the emergency department at St Columcille’s Loughlinstown are now being played out in the corridors of St Vincents:
“At the time Sinn Fein fiercely objected to the closure of services at St Columcilles. However all 5 Wicklow TD’s; Stephen Donnelly, Anne Ferris, Simon Harris, Billy Timmins and Andrew Doyle supported the move back in 2013. In fact, Billy Timmins was quoted as saying that he fully believed the ‘public will see an improvement’ within two or three years. He was wrong. Simon Harris at the time said he accepted that Wicklow was the ‘poor relation’ of the HSE and called for better primary care and ambulance services for the area. Four years in government and he has not lifted a finger to deliver the very services he accepted were necessary. As a result we now have a crisis in the emergency department of one of the largest hospitals in the state. Had St Columcille’s service been upgraded and kept open as Sinn Fein argued for, St Vincents would have far fewer patients on trolleys and nursing staff would not be forced into taking the action they have embarked on. ”
In conclusion Councillor Brady called on Local TD Simon Harris to appeal to Health Minister Leo Varadker to intervene in the dispute:
“The closure of St Columcille’s emergency department was as a result of another broken promise courtesy of the Labour Party. Now that St Vincents is suffering the effects, I would plead with Wicklow TD and Minister of State Simon Harris to intercede on behalf of the patients and staff, and call on Health Minister Leo Varadker to immediately address the staffing and financial crisis at the hospital.”