14 April 2006

'Lie-down' protest at Dail to highlight A&E overcrowding


14/04/2006 - 07:06:04

A group of 495 people will today lie on the street outside the Dáil to represent the highest number of patients lying on trolleys on a single day this year.

The ’Lie Down And Be Counted’ stunt is organised by Patients Together which said it chose Good Friday to maximise public attendance.

The Irish Nurses Organisation (INO) recorded 495 patients on trolleys in all Accident & Emergency departments on March 8.

It was the highest number since records began and exceeded the previous day’s tally of 455.

The Health Service Executive blamed the high numbers on winter vomiting bug cases and the unseasonal cold snap.

The INO’s ‘Trolley Watch’ figure hovered around the 260 mark this week.

Patients Together spokesperson Janette Byrne said ordinary people were suffering in the health service but were powerless to complain.

“Patients just want to be listened to. Everybody else had a union or lobby group to speak up for them but there are thousands of patients without a voice,” she explained.

Referring to the 1916 Rising leaders being commemorated on Easter Sunday, Ms Byrne commented: “Those men would be turning in their graves today if they saw what was happening in the country they gave their lives for.”

The noon protest is being supported by the INO and MRSA and Families.

Formed in October 2004, Patients Together has previously held candlelight vigils and delivered petitions to the Health Department to publicise the plight of patients.

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