A&E lies idle
The greater Blanchards-town area, stretching from the Liffey to the borders of Meath near Clonee, has a rapidly increasing population. Yet over the last year, James Connolly Memorial Hospital has suffered savage cuts.
By Susan Fitzgerald
In 2003, 30 beds were closed and the hospital lost 50 nurses. This leaves 150 beds available, 30 of these beds are taken up by long stay patients who should be cared for in nursing homes, leaving 120 for acute care.
A number of hospital staff turned up to a recent public meeting and spoke about the conditions in which they work. A nurse from A&E said it was like working in a hospital in the middle of a war zone, explaining the cramped conditions and the overcrowding which are a constant feature in the hospital. The Health Boards lack of consultation with staff was highlighted by a member of the Psychiatric Nurses Association.
A woman whose mother died while being treated in an ambulance spoke about how her mother who had worked and reared children her whole life wasn't even afforded the dignity to die in a hospital bed under this government.
Despite this she praised all the staff involved. This very much echoes the sentiments of virtually everyone who has suffered at the hands of our chronically under-resourced health system, where a beleaguered staff continues to try and deal as humanely and as best they can with patients, despite inhuman working conditions in many hospitals.
Many people in greater Blanchardstown are not aware of the difficulties, which have been somewhat overshadowed by the fact that a major new refurbishment has taken place. This was very essential but did not provide any extra capacity. Scandalously, the new Accident and Emergency and related operating theatres and wards lie idle for lack of 4.2 million euro, which the Health Board refuses to provide.
The Socialist Party together with the local community organised a successful public meeting to expose this disgraceful situation.
We intend to continue to highlight the need for urgent extra funding for Blanchardstown Hospital and we hope to use the local elections to put the politicians and parties who have stood over this scandal under real community pressure.