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'Waterford hospital beds idle while public money spent on private nursing home'

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'Waterford hospital beds idle while public money spent on private nursing home'

Waterford TD David Cullinane slams the Government over trolley crisis at UHW

A Waterford TD says Government incompetence on health care is leaving public beds lying idle while patients lie on hospital trolleys in record numbers.

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane says that due to bad planning of acute health care, brand new acute bed wards at University Hospital Waterford lie empty while €240,000 of public money is spent purchasing acute beds in the CareChoice private nursing home in Dungarvan.

“Earlier this week the Government announced that 199 new acute hospital beds would be made available for a short number of months to deal with the winter emergency. This was a delayed reaction with notice of additional funding sent to hospital management a week before Christmas," Deputy Cullinane says. 

Read more: Waterford hospital 'badly needs decent share of additional resources'

“In the case of University Hospital Waterford, it did not have the staff available to open any new beds. This is despite over 60 new single isolation room beds lying idle in two wards in the Dunmore Wing.

“Instead, hospital management had to draw down the funding and purchase 30 beds over a two-month period in a private nursing home at a cost of €240,000. This is no way to run our public health services," he says. 

Deputy Cullinane says the Government knew the winter emergency was coming. "It is an annual occurrence. They continually deny there is a staff recruitment embargo but yet hospital management do not have the funding or the staff even to open existing beds," he adds. 

Read more: Simon Harris 'showing no respect for patients on trolleys' at Waterford hospital