‘People are dying because they can’t get off-hours attention’

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae

The Government should insist that more hospitals and additional medical staff operate through the night and at the weekends in order to deal with patient waiting lists that are growing all the time, a Kerry TD has insisted.

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae said it must be acknowledged that people also get sick after 5 o’clock on Fridays and at weekends.

“People are dying because they cannot get attention if they go into the hospital during the off hours. There are no doctors there to see them and they remain on trolleys. That is unfair and very wrong,” he said.

Deputy Healy-Rae told the Dáil of the recent case of a 98-year-old woman who got on a bus in Killarney at 3.45am because she wanted to save her sight.

Minister Stephen Donnelly

“I am proud that she came back home after a seven-hour journey up to Belfast and a seven-hour journey back. She had the sight in one eye and she is going again to get the second eye done,” he said.

The Kerry TD said it is hard for people to have to go to that extreme but that is what we have to do to ensure that they do not go blind.

“It is a shame, a disgrace and indictment on the government,” he remarked.

Deputy Healy-Rae said was a disgrace that Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly, wasn’t in the Dáil to hear what he had to say.

“There is no excuse good enough for that. He has been playing to the gallery all the week,” he said.

Deputy Healy-Rae added: “He launched some initiative to put ads on bottles, drinks or whatever and announced that Ireland is the first country in the world to do that. At the same time, this government is suggesting that pubs in cities should remain open until 6am. That is a complete contradiction”.

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