The Workers’ Party have accused Health Minister Simon Harris of splitting hairs in a vain attempt to deflect criticism over the ongoing chronic overcrowding in hospital Emergency Departments which according to the INMO sees 643 patients on trolleys today (Monday), 59 of them at Cork University Hospital and a further 10 at the city’s Mercy Hospital.

Workers’ Party Cork Councillor Ted Tynan said that Mr. Harris is only the latest of a long line of health ministers to imagine light at the end of the tunnel when there is none.

Cllr. Tynan said:  “It is now 12 years since the then minister, Mary Harney, declared an overcrowding crisis when 455 people were languishing on trolleys, now, four ministers later, that figure is a distant memory and numbers in the order of 600 and more are now becoming all too frequent”.

“How many more ministers will occupy Simon Harris’s desk in the Health Department before we see meaningful progress or indeed an end to patients having to spend nights on hospital trolleys?” questioned Cllr. Tynan.  “It is beyond time for the Minister and the cabinet as a whole to stop making excuses for this national scandal and produce  real and measurable results.”

“Talk of new hospitals in years to come are of no comfort to those who are lying on trolleys in the here and now. Minister Harris has shown no sign that he appreciates the extent of problem nor has he any solution in the short or medium term. He seems destined to join the long list of failed ministers whose chief concern is preparing for a better cabinet post or a future career as advisor in the private medical sector”, said Cllr. Tynan.