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“Last Year 927 People Were Dead By the Time an Ambulance Arrived” – Tóibín

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has called for more targeted funding of our health service, as statistics released to him reveal “human cost” of the crisis in healthcare.

Speaking in the Dáil this evening, Deputy Tóibín said:

“Last year 115,000 patients across the country left A&E without being seen. That’s 115,000 who were sick enough to warrant going to the A&E but were forced to wait so long that they worked out that they would be better off going home. The A&E in Our Lady’s Hospital Navan was so busy last year that 1,230 patients left Navan A&E before they were seen. Its incredible that the HSE are determined to close Navan A&E despite the fact that its so busy. Statistics released to Aontú revealed that two people in the Southern region were left waiting more than 13 hours for an ambulance last year. One person in the western region last year was waiting 22 hours!!”

Deputy Tóibín continued: “The average response time for ambulances has been increasing year on year since 2019 and so has the number of times a patient was dead by the time the ambulance reached them. In 2019, 757 people were dead by the time the ambulance arrived, and this figure stood at 927 in 2021. This is a devastating figure. It’s a life and death indicator of the performance of the emergency services under the current government. Last year 103,000 ambulances (or 34% of call outs) saw a wait of more than an hour to handover a patient at a hospital, before they could be dispatched to the next call. This compared with only 15% of ambulances taking more than an hour in 2019.

The crisis in hospital A&Es means that ambulances cannot make the necessary hand over of patients in a safe and reasonable time frame. There were scenes of ‘total chaos’ outside Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda as 11 ambulances were stuck waiting for hours due to lack of beds. Yet you want to close Navan A&E. This meant that for hours there was no ambulance to be had in Meath, Louth, Cavan and Monaghan”.

“There were more than 830,000 patients waiting to be seen at an outpatient clinic or waiting for hospital treatment. Before Christmas the HSE confirmed to Aontú that 600 patients in this State were in hospital, despite having been clinically discharged, fit to go home. 47 of them had been stuck in that situation for more than six months. In 2021 there were 105,000 adverse incidents in the health care system, a significant jump from in the last number of years.”

“These are people who have been damaged, made ill, and in some case been disabled or lost their lives as a result of mistakes in the health system, many of these no doubt due to the pressure put on staff. The state has paid €2billion in medical negligence claims in just 5 years. Money that should have been invested in front line resources. These figures are shocking. But they hide the human cost and suffering that exists in our society as a result of Health Service dysfunction. They hide the pain, the suffering, the people who cannot work due to ill health, the people who are forced to depend on carers due to ill health. And they hide the heartbreak of lives lost”, concluded Tóibín.

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