News & Media

Real investment needed in Waterford Hospital capacity

9 January 2020

Statement by Cllr John Pratt

Waterford Mayor, and Labour General Election candidate, Cllr John Pratt has called for better planning, and a commitment to invest in public heath services instead of relying on short term extra beds in private nursing homes.

Cllr Pratt said:

“The Minister for Health’s commitment to making 199 additional hospital beds available by the end of January needs to have a lasting effect in Waterford. Instead of investing in public health services, 30 beds are being rented for two months in Dungarvan. While this will provide some relief, it won’t solve the chronic overcrowding in Ardkeen where we need to see an increase in staffing to use the facilities we already have.

“The current numbers presenting at UHW behoves the Minister and the HSE to ensure that there is real investment in permanent beds. That means hiring more nurses, doctors and health sector staff.

“We know every year that there is overcrowding in our hospital, but instead of investing in services  back in September, the latest emergency measure will only act as a temporary relief. Because of the recruitment embargo and poor planning this is what the HSE and local management are having to resort to.”

Mayor Pratt, also responding to local media coverage of assertions by the head of UHW’s emergency department (ED) that up to one hundred patients a year who have attended there die as a result of the overcrowding they experienced during their stay there, says there is urgent need for action on a number of fronts regarding health services in the Waterford area.

“I’ve long been concerned that we in Waterford and the South East aren’t getting fair play in health - the continuing absence of 24/7 Cath lab cardiac care being a case in point. It’s difficult to believe how this Fine Gael led government, on top of all that, couldn’t have planned for the flu related surge that is now placing massive demands on timely treatment and bed capacity in UHW. I’d have thought an extraordinary measure like 199 extra beds would have come into play weeks before now. Seeing as the initiative is now being organised, the very least we should expect in this city and county is that the powers that be are aware of how badly we need a decent share of those additional resources.

“With the full weight of my office, on behalf of the people of Waterford, I will be making contact with all the relevant parties - beginning with Minister for Health Simon Harris TD - to impress upon them that UHW and Waterford must have provision made for a permanent increase in capacity in the hospital, notwithstanding our ongoing campaign for a decent health service adequate to the needs of the population of Waterford and the South East region”