Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that there is now a full scale health emergency in Irish hospitals and that the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, is an “absolute disaster” for the health service. 

The Tipperary TD said that Leo Varadkar needed to step in and relive minister Harris from the role.

Last week, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) reported that there were 760 admitted patients without beds in Ireland’s hospitals on both days – the worst-ever figure since records began.

South Tipperary General Hospital was among the worst hit with 40 patients waiting for a bed on Monday and 44 on Tuesday last week.

“In August, the INMO confirmed there had been an enormous 173% increase in the number of patients on trolleys compared with July 2006. Those statistics also revealed that the number of patients waiting on trolleys at South Tipperary General Hospital this July was 509 – a 54% increase from the same point last year,” Deputy McGrath said.

We now have confirmation that the situation is even more dire than we had previously thought possible with the numbers of patients on trolleys reaching a ten year high.”

Deputy McGrath said Minister Harris and the HSE are driving the hospital system “over a cliff through reckless and grossly incompetent mismanagement”.

He described Minister Harris as an “absolute disaster” for the Irish health service. “If he does not go then the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who is keeping him in his role despite any evidence of competency, should fire him,” he said.

“For all intents and purposes there is now a full scale health emergency within our hospitals. That is why serious consideration should also be given to recalling the Dáil so that we can at least have some sense of political accountability for the appalling scenarios that patients and front line staff are having to endure on a daily basis,” the Deputy for Tipperary added.