Fine Gael National Press Office
Press Statement by Jerry Buttimer TD
Cork South Central
Chair Oireachtas Committee on Health
Thursday, 21st March 2013
Trolley figures dramatically reduced for this time of year – Buttimer
Special Delivery Unit continues to tackle trolley numbers with figures down 28% on same time in 2011
Speaking following reports that there were 400 people on trolleys in our hospitals yesterday, Fine Gael Cork South Cork South Central Deputy and Chair of the Oireachtas Health Committee, Jerry Buttimer said that when compared to the same time last year trolley figures continue to be dramatically reduced thanks to the work of the Special Delivery Unit (SDU).
“Significant progress continues to be made by the Special Delivery Unit in reducing waiting lists and tackling trolley figures. The number of patients waiting more than a year for an inpatient procedure is at its lowest level since records began and the number of patients on trolleys reduced by 24% last year.
“Despite these improvements made in 2012, the Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly TD, has continually said that 2013 will continue to pose considerable challenges for the health sector which we will seek to address in the best way possible. It also comes as no surprise that this time of year is synonymous with increased activity at our hospitals which puts additional pressure on our Emergency Departments.
“It must be remembered, however, that the number of patients recorded on trolleys for the first 11 weeks of 2011 was 21,028. That figure has been reduced to 15,220 patients for the first eleven weeks of this year, representing a reduction of 28%.
“As winter pressures in Emergency Departments ease, the SDU will work towards re-balancing scheduled care and reducing this seasonal spike in waiting list figures, which was expected so that we can continue to build on the improvements made in 2012.
“It is important to note that while figures have increased when compared to December 2012, they remain significantly down on the equivalent period last year. Other improvements for this time of year show a 23% reduction in the number of adults waiting longer than 8 months for inpatient or daycase treatment and a 64% reduction on the number of children waiting longer than 20 weeks for inpatient or daycase treatment.
“The scale of the challenge of turning the health service around cannot be underestimated but the Government remains committed to building on the success achieved to date by the Special Delivery Unit which the General Secretary of the INMO, Liam Doran, said is having a significant impact on the number of people on trolleys in our hospitals.”