Clonakilty UDC protests hospital crisis
At Sinn Féin's instigation, Clonakilty Urban District Council recently agreed to write a letter of protest to the Minister for Health, Mícheál Martin, the Southern Health Board and the Manager of Cork University Hospital. The local authority was expressing its concern about ``the unacceptable situation in our hospitals, in particular the Cork University Hospital, regarding bed shortages and the treatment of patients whereby they have to wait on trolleys in the casualty area sometimes for up to 18 hours before being put into wards''.
The matter was raised by Sinn Féin Councillor Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin and was supported unanimously by the council. Describing the situation as ``a disgrace in the year 2000'', Ó Súilleabháin said people had approached him about the University Hospital over recent months and more recently he had personal experience of what the situation was like there when a relative was hospitalised after an accident.
Emphasising that he had no qualms with the doctors and nurses at the hospital, the Sinn Féin councillor described to the meeting how he had witnessed patients in stress waiting for hours in the Accident and Emergency Unit before being allocated a bed. In his own relative's situation, a necessary surgical procedure was postponed on three successive days as there were more urgent cases to attend to and he was sent home on two of these because no bed was available in a ward to keep him overnight.
He arrived at the A&E at 6.30pm and queued with 18 others before being sent home at 11pm that night. The place was so packed the same evening that his trolley was wheeled into the plastering section to make room in the outer area.
Ó Súilleabháin said he subsequently witnessed people waiting in queues for five to six hours on following days to be seen by specialists for various ailments. Talking with other patients at the hospital, he discovered that some had spent whole nights on trolleys in the casualty area because there were no beds available on wards.
Ó Súilleabháin said: ``People are fed up of hearing about the Celtic Tiger and the boom that we are supposed to be experiencing in Ireland at present. It seems to me that only the fat cats are getting the cream, and the vast majority of the ordinary people of this country continue as they always were - forgotten by the decision-makers. I am calling on Minister Martin, himself a Corkman who should be aware of the situation in Cork University Hospital, to immediately allocate enough financial resources to sort this disgraceful situation out. It's a scandal that the sick and vulnerable have to put up with this inferior health service. I also ask that this motion be sent to the Southern Health Board, all other local authorities in Cork and Kerry and to Tony McNamara, Manager of the Cork University Hospital, who is of course a native of this town (Clonakilty). We have to let those in authority know that people are disillusioned and disgusted with what is happening at present, and want to see an improvement.''