Govt won’t com­mit on UHK beds

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - NEWS - By SI­MON BROUDER

IN the wake of last week’s strike by nurses at Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal Kerry’s Emer­gency De­part­ment, the Gov­ern­ment says it has no im­me­di­ate plans to in­crease the num­ber of beds at the hos­pi­tal.

INMO mem­bers took to the streets last week to de­mand 43 ex­tra beds at the hos­pi­tal to ease ‘in­tol­er­a­ble’ over­crowd­ing at the Emer­gency De­part­ment which ac­com­mo­dates an av­er­age of 17 patents a day on trol­leys.

In the Dáil on Thurs­day Sinn Féin Kerry TD Martin Fer­ris quizzed Ju­nior Health Min­is­ter Jim Daly on the is­sue.

Min­is­ter Daly de­scribed the strike as ‘dis­ap­point­ing’, adding that over­crowd­ing at UHK was largely due to a 10 per cent in­crease in the num­ber of older pa­tients – aged 75 and over – at­tend­ing the unit.

Min­is­ter Daly said that the INMO re­quest for ad­di­tional beds will be ad­dressed in a na­tional plan to be im­ple­mented by win­ter. How­ever, he would not give any com­mit­ment as to whether any ad­di­tional beds would ac­tu­ally be de­liv­ered.

“There is a na­tional plan to in­crease bed ca­pac­ity ahead of the com­ing win­ter. A sub­mis­sion has been made by the South/South West Hos­pi­tal Group on be­half of UHK for ad­di­tional beds to be opened there for next win­ter. That is be­ing pro­gressed by the HSE and the De­part­ment at the mo­ment and hope­fully it will de­liver some ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity in the hos­pi­tal,” said Min­is­ter Daly.

Deputy Fer­ris did not ap­pear im­pressed by the re­sponse. “It is ev­i­dent from the Min­is­ter of State’s re­ply that there does not ap­pear to be any plan to put in place ad­di­tional beds within the hos­pi­tal,” he said.

“Will it take an­other protest to im­ple­ment what­ever pro­pos­als the task force is go­ing to make? Will it take an­other protest to get ad­e­quate beds in the hos­pi­tal for pa­tients in need? I hope the nurses’ ac­tions this week will ac­cel­er­ate what­ever de­ci­sions the Gov­ern­ment is go­ing to take to pro­vide pa­tient care and safety to the peo­ple of our county,” Deputy Fer­ris said.

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