Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children

Task Force on Overcrowding in Accident and Emergency Departments: Discussion

11:15 am

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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I thank everybody for coming in this morning and, in particular, Mr. O'Brien for his statement. What impact do the witnesses expect the negotiations, which are hopefully concluded and will be agreed by the INMO membership after Christmas, to have on the day-to-day running of the emergency departments nationally? Is it tangible? Is it possible to estimate by what factor it will reduce the hours spent in emergency departments when it is implemented in February? Money was included in yesterday's service plan for the additional 440 beds. Can the witnesses provide the committee with a breakdown as to where they are going to go over the next 12 months? Reference was made to 214 additional short-stay beds. It is easy to see the 64 in Mount Carmel because it is on stilts and highly visible. Where are the rest of them? Are the actually open? If they are open, where were the additional staff taken from to service them? There is chatter, which is not always idle, that the beds are not open and in fact remain closed in hospitals.

I could not let the opportunity pass without asking Mr. O'Brien about the article last week. At the risk of being called soft, I was very sad when I read it. I know it was probably reported in a particular context.