herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Editorial: A new low in country's trolley crisis

Another month, another new low when it comes to overcrowding in our country’s emergency departments.

Even by the standards of recent times, however, yesterday’s news that 7,775 patients were treated on trolleys last month, was shocking.

That figure represents a record high for June, the highest number recorded since the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation began its ‘Trolley Watch’ count 12 years ago.

The June figure was a 51pc increase on the same month last year, an indication – if one were needed – that the country’s emergency departments are now in a state of permanent crisis.

And this crisis costs lives. How many patients have died or have had their lives shortened as a result of the stress and discomfort of being treated on trolleys, in corridors and with little privacy?

These trolley figures will no doubt lead to further wringing of hands, blame and spinning of facts, while the sick will remain on trolleys. When will this change?

New rules of little help

A modest drop in property values, particularly in the midst of strong economic recovery, would usually be welcomed.

But that’s not the case for many Dublin families who are struggling to buy a family home in a market that remains starved of supply.

A report this week revealed that the price of a three-bed semi dropped by seven per cent overall in Dublin over the past three months.

Analysts put this down to new lending rules which require larger desposits on property.

A standard three-bed semi now costs an average €362,500, requiring a deposit of at least €73,000, an amount out of the reach of many families.

Lending rules may be cooling an overheating market but they are clearly doing little for many city families.

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