Sinn Féin TD for Meath West Johnny Guirke has expressed grave concern that 61 people were left waiting on trolleys last month in Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan.

He warned that the shocking figures expose the government’s failure to support the health service and called for the Health Minister to ensure that the Emergency Department Taskforce is reconvened to address this important issue.

He expressed concern that the capacity is not in place in promised community networks because the Government has failed to train enough health and social care professionals.

Guirke told Meath Live, “I am very concerned to learn that 61 people were waiting on trolleys or in wards in Navan without a hospital bed last month.

“This is appalling and cannot be allowed to continue. Behind every number is a person who has been let down by the government.

“These shocking figures underline the failure of government to properly resource enough beds and staff for hospitals to safely manage patients

‘’9,869 patients were without a bed in the month of February across the country.

“The high trolley count indicates that some hospitals are running dangerously overcapacity. This will have had consequences for patient care and the cancellation of surgeries and appointments.

“The government and HSE need to be taking all steps to reduce hospital overcrowding. The Minister must ensure that the ED Taskforce meets and that all options are on the table.

“They have had nearly two years to put in place capacity expansions in hospitals and capacity for care and for discharge in the community to avoid these high trolley levels.

“Targeted measures for tackling emergency department overcrowding are required – both investment and reform are needed.

“In the medium term, the government must work with stakeholders to implement a strategy which must include investment in our major hospitals to expand acute hospital capacity and reforms in community care to keep patients out of the hospital where possible.

“Any strategy for reducing waiting lists must include this essential component to stop ED overcrowding from interfering in scheduled care.

“This will require a joined-up approach across government departments, the HSE, and the health sector to ensure that major health infrastructure projects and reforms are advanced quickly and that funding is released without delay.

“I want to commend the staff in Navan, who are doing incredible work under extraordinary pressure to care for our community. People in Meath deserve better from this government and must-see these changes implemented urgently.

“I will continue to hold the government to account on this to ensure that these scandalous figures do not continue. Staff and patients at Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan must receive the support they need. There can be no more delays or excuses.”