Waterford TD David Cullinane
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health and Waterford TD David Cullinane has said that hospital staff feel "overwhelmed and let down" by pay inequality and a lack of investment in emergency capacity.
The Waterford TD said staff in hospitals are working "flat out" and are reaching "breaking point".
He said he is "highly concerned" for the welfare of healthcare workers.
“They are extremely anxious and stressed as they see the circumstances continue to worsen, and they see very clearly that the worst is coming," the Waterford TD said.
“From student nurses to top-tier consultants, they feel overwhelmed by their workload and let down by Government.
“In August, I launched a plan for delivering emergency capacity to deliver more temporary beds, expand space, and keep staff and patients safe. It also proposed resolving pay inequality for consultants, which is a major barrier to recruitment and retention.
“It is a sore point for workers when they are still dealing with pay inequality while they work to save lives during this pandemic.
“The IMO made similar submissions which were also ignored, and this has not materialised."
He said the number of Covid patients in hospitals and ICUs constitutes an "extreme crisis".
“The bed numbers we were promised have not materialised. We have nowhere near the number of ICU beds that we need, and knew we needed more than a decade ago," the Waterford TD said.
“We never got travel restrictions right. We never got testing and tracing, especially for airports and sea ports. And we never got the beds our health service needed.
“Frontline healthcare workers are looking for certainty and, above all, transparency in relation to the vaccine rollout, as are the general public.
“There is a lot of anxiety and hearsay, which needs to be addressed with honest truth. If the Government does not know when people will be vaccinated, that needs to be said," he added.