Overcrowding crisis in hospitals in Donegal and nationwide has reached "catastrophic levels"

National Association of General Practitioners say "action not talk" is needed

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Overcrowding crisis in hospital emergency departments in Donegal and nationwide has reached "catastrophic levels"

As hospitals in Letterkenny and Sligo mirror a national trend and continue to see high numbers on trolleys, the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP)says the overcrowding crisis in hospital emergency departments has reached catastrophic levels due to a lack of proper planning and investment.

In a hard-hitting statement issued this afternoon they say:

"Action, and not talk, is needed to make decisive shift to GP-led Primary Care."

" Transitional funding is required to move to a GP-led Primary Care system."

"A new GP contract is urgently needed to retain and recruit GP graduates in Ireland."

At Letterkenny University Hospital, according to INMO figures released earlier today, there were 25 patients waiting for a bed including 18 on trolleys while there were 23 waiting for a bed, including 17 on trolleys at Sligo University Hospital.

Letterkenny University Hospital had 25 patients waiting for a bed including 18

on trolleys earlier today

Meanwhile, the GP body say that the HSE and Department of Health have been talking about the need for change but there has been no meaningful move towards a new system. The NAGP welcomed comments made today by the HSE Director General, Tony O’Brien, that there needs to be a redesign of the health service with a decisive shift to general practice and primary care. Mr. O’Brien also reiterated his previous statement that there needs to be transitional investment to build up primary care to support this change.

Mr. Chris Goodey, NAGP CEO, said, “A fundamental shift to GP-led Primary Care is a necessary change in the long-term approach to addressing the crisis in hospitals. Both GPs, and the HSE, agree that this is the right long-term approach to provide the best care to patients and the best value for money to the Government. However, while there has been much discussion by the HSE and the Minister for Health about making this change, there has been no investment in General Practice. In fact, funding has been taken out of General Practice and the profession is in crisis, as a result”.

Earlier today Ms Maura Hickey, Industrial Relations Officer with the INMO called on the HSE to make contact with neighbouring hospitals in Northern Ireland in order to assist with chronic overcrowding which she has described as being unsustainable.