A reformed, all-Ireland NHS would be better prepared to deal with the winter pressures currently being experienced in the healthcare system, according to Garrett Greene, Workers’ Party rep. for Cabra-Glasnevin.

Greene said: “Cases of flu, respiratory illness and COVID-19 cases, as well as injuries caused by icy weather, are adding further strain to overburdened and under-resourced emergency departments across the country. We have not yet reached peak winter pressures, meaning things are set to get worse for both patients and staff as January continues.”

“The continued cuts in community care and general practice mean more and more people are unable to access support or healthcare outside of a hospital setting, which only adds more pressure to our already overwhelmed emergency departments. Once again, there has been a massive failure by our government to not only ensure funding in the community, such as General Practice, but also to prioritise public health signposting for patients and enable pharmacists to treat patients for flu-like symptoms which would decrease attendance at emergency departments.”

“We need a fully-funded all-Ireland NHS which can strategically reform services and ensure a workforce plan that will provide quality and safety for staff and patients across the country. This is the only way to ensure effective and essential cross border working, sharing information and joined up approaches to ensuring quality and safety in our healthcare system, as well as ensuring that patients are directed through the proper pathways, removing an unnecessary reliance on emergency departments.”