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Minister for Health "winning the war on trolley numbers"

New figures show that there were almost 10,000 fewer people on trolleys so far this year.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE MINISTER FOR Health, James Reilly, is “winning the war on trolley numbers”, Deputy Jerry Buttimer has said.

Deputy Buttimer, who is the Fine Gael Cork South Central Deputy and chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, said new figures show that almost 10,000 fewer people waited on hospital trolleys so far this year, compared to the same time last year.

He described them as “proof that the Minister for Health, James Reilly TD, is winning the war on trolley numbers”.

Waiting

Since 20 July, the average number of people waiting on trolleys around the country has fallen to below 250, the first time this has happened in the last six months.

The figures are based on those provided by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and confirmed by the Special Delivery Unit.

[They] show that from January to 20 July 2011, 50,665 people waited on trolleys. That figure for the same period this year was 40,979, meaning 9,686 fewer people have waited on hospital trolleys so far this year.

Deputy Buttimer noted that at the height of the trolley crisis, there were almost 570 people waiting on trolleys on a single day. Minister Reilly has stated that the current number of 250 a day is still too high and has made a commitment to reduce it further.

“What we are currently experiencing is a dramatic change in how our health service is managed,” said Deputy Buttimer.

Last week new legislation which is designed to radically overhaul the HSE was published, making way for the appointment of a Director General and six new Directorates, with direct responsibility for budgets and service provision in specific areas.

The new trolley figures show that despite difficult economic circumstances and a continuing moratorium on staff recruitment, “things are changing and we are succeeding in doing more with less”, continued the Deputy.

He added that the Special Delivery Units have already had a significant impact on waiting lists, reducing the numbers from over 3,400 people waiting more than 12 months for in-patient or day case treatment to a little over 100.

Read: Reilly tells nurses that closed hospital beds will not be reopened>

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