Louth TD Peter Fitzpatrick has come out in defence of the Government much criticised helath policy.
Fitzpatrick, has said new figures which show that almost 10,000 fewer people waited on hospital trolleys so far this year, compared to the same time last year, is proof that the Minister for Health, James Reilly TD, is winning the war on trolley numbers.
Deputy Fitzpatrick went on to say that since 20th July (last Friday) the average number of people waiting on trolleys around the country has fallen to below 250, the first time this has happened in the last six months.
“Figures confirmed by the Special Delivery Unit, which are based on those provided by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, show that from January to 20th July 2011, 50,665 people waited on trolleys. That figure for the same period this year was 40,979, meaning 9,686 fewer people have waited on hospital trolleys so far this year. This represents a milestone in the fight against trolley numbers in our hospitals and is proof that the work of the SDU is delivering for the Irish people.
“Minister Reilly made a firm commitment to end the two tier health system that characterised our health service and to put systems in place that will ensure that people are treated according to their medical need and not the money in their pocket. At the height of the trolley crisis under the previous administration, there were almost 570 people waiting on trolleys on a single day. That number has now been reduced to an average of less than 250 people per day. The Minister has stated, however, that this figure is still too high and has made a commitment to reduce it further.
“What we are currently experiencing is a dramatic change in how our health service is managed. Last week new legislation which is designed to radically overhaul the HSE was published, making way for the appointment of a Director General and six new Directorates, with direct responsibility for budgets and service provision in specific areas. These new trolley figures show that despite our difficult economic circumstances and a continuing moratorium on staff recruitment, things are changing and we are succeeding in doing more with less.
“The SDUs are not yet a year old but have already had a significant impact on waiting lists. When they were set up last September, there were over 3,400 people waiting more than 12 months for in-patient or day case treatment. That figure is now down to a little over 100. Putting the health service we deserve in place will not happen overnight. I am encouraged, however, by the progress we are making and look forward to a brighter and healthier future, for all our people.”