Friday 28 October 2016

The HSE was once 'Angola', and our hospitals still resemble a war-zone

Rosanna O'Halloran
Rosanna O'Halloran

The mayhem continues in our country's emergency departments.

Despite the HSE Emergency Departments Task Force the grim situation of patients on trolleys has once again reached crisis point.

The past week has seen not one, but two, women over the aged of 101 left on a trolley for more than 24 hours.

I recall back in 2006 then Health Minister Mary Harney went on radio to say that she would tackle this practice.

She failed miserably, as did all her successors in the Department of Health.

Nine years later, in March of this year, 9,000 patients were left on trolleys in our hospitals.

Since then the situation has further deteriorated. Last week an lady of 102 years, Rose O'Halloran, was left waiting on trolley for 26 hours in Tallaght Hospital's emergency department.


Last Monday it emerged that another lady, aged 101, was left for 25 hours on trolley at University Hospital, Limerick.

This deplorable treatment of our vulnerable citizens of advanced age is nothing short of a human rights abuse and it reflects badly on our country.

The plight of these elderly people, who have been deprived of privacy and dignity, should make us all hang our heads in shame.

Despite Government and HSE promises the situation in our emergency departments regularly resembles a war-zone. Some years ago Brian Cowen described the HSE as 'Angola', so stricken was it with political landmines and faction fighting.

Nothing has changed. The HSE - which ultimately oversees our emergency departments - is an utterly discredited institution. It should be abolished now.

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