Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said “years of bad government policy is directly responsible for the crisis in our hospitals.”
Ms Ní Riada made the remarks following a week which saw the highest number of patients on trolleys so far this year.
The Ireland South MEP said that the government and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar prefer to deflect rather than address what she described as the “blindingly obvious reality of the crisis.”
Ms Ní Riada criticised the Taoiseach for speaking about the approach of individual hospitals to crisis instead of acknowledging the glaring policy failures of his government.
“Of course, there are always methods and strategies of improving the delivery of patient care. Such strategies must be continuously considered in line with modern practices.
“However, it is extremely disingenuous of Mr Varadkar to focus on such issues when the real and overarching problem is government health policy. This has resulted in constant firefighting in hospitals. The fruits of this are plain for all to see – 81 patients lying on trolleys at Limerick University Hospital. At the start of the month, we also saw Cork University Hospital issue a status black warning due to severe congestion.
“You cannot separate the last eight years from where our hospitals are today. The truth is that Fine Gael set about undermining and hollowing out public healthcare as soon as they were elected to government in 2011. What followed was the implementation of decisions which focused on severe budgetary cuts and policies that have done nothing to protect and improve frontline care.
“Fine Gael have spent the best part of a decade actively undermining and dismantling public health provision in this state all in the name of privatisation. Fianna Fáil are supporting this agenda by keeping them in government.
“Clearly, what we need is a radical change of direction in health policy. Our public hospital system needs to be supported by government, not attacked and undermined.”