URGENT investment is needed to protect health services across Cork and Ireland, according to a Cork TD.
This week, Sinn Féin unveiled a €1.9 billion plan aimed at protecting capacity in the health service.
Cork TD Thomas Gould has said the plan would help Cork hospitals deal with capacity issues and with the additional pressures they face as a result of Covid-19.
The Cork North Central TD claimed that “urgent investment is needed to protect our health services in Cork and throughout the country”.
“Our health service is facing a perfect storm,” he said.
“Patients and healthcare workers need our support.
“We have a plan for reopening the economy, we have a plan for reopening schools,” he added.
“Now we need a realistic plan to protect Ireland’s health.
“Sinn Féin has proposed a €1.9 billion plan to protect capacity in the health service.
“Every option has to be on the table, and workers need to be guaranteed certainty in their employment.
“We need to expand physical infrastructure through space in the community, repurposing space in acute hospitals, expanding space through modular units, and leveraging at-cost capacity in the private sector.” Mr Gould said that the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed a “decades-long failure” to build a public health system that has sufficient doctors, nurses and beds.
"We could see even before the pandemic how hospitals in Cork were struggling with capacity issues with a status black warning being issued by the CUH on a number of occasions.
“Pre-Covid, our health system was in crisis,” he said.
“Now, it is under pressure on several fronts: overworked staff, Covic care, non-Covid care, catching-up on delayed care, a vast reduction in capacity, and the looming winter flu.
“There are now more than 700,000 people on waiting lists, and this will continue to grow,” he added.
“We could lose from 20 to 40% bed capacity.
“Front line staff are at burnout and cannot continue to work overtime in understaffed conditions. This is not safe or fair for staff or patients.
“This is an emergency; it needs emergency response.”