Simon Harris cancels St. Patrick’s Day trip abroad due to hospital overcrowding crisis


“It would not feel right for me as Minister to travel on St. Patrick’s Day.”

Minister for Health Simon Harris has cancelled a scheduled trip to Belgium and the Netherlands on St. Patrick’s Day in light of the overcrowding crisis currently engulfing hospitals in Ireland.

Minister Harris is one of 36 Government Ministers that had been scheduled to travel to various destinations around the globe to promote Ireland on our national holiday, but has decided to cancel the trip as the hospital crisis intensifies at home.

“People across the health service are working extraordinarily hard to make progress in what is a difficult week,” Harris said in a statement.

“I am in regular contact with HSE. It would not feel right to me as Minister to travel for St Patrick’s Day so I have made decision not to do so.”

On Monday, the General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation called for a national emergency to be declared as a report revealed that a total of 714 people were on trolleys around Ireland awaiting admission into hospitals, the highest number ever recorded.

Commenting on the figures, Phil Ni Sheaghdha, the General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, said: “We saw record trolley figures last week with a total of 3112 in just one week and today each daily total from that week has been surpassed by the extraordinary figure of 714 admitted patients on trolleys today.

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“This upsurge was predictable and the INMO warned against inaction or insufficient action in the wake of Storm Emma. It is unfortunate for both healthcare staff and patients that these warnings were not heeded and that emergency measures sought have not been put in place.

“The INMO are, yet again, calling for emergency status to be immediately declared and emergency response plans put into operation.”

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