Overcrowding tops hospital consultants' agenda at meeting with Health Minister

[The issue of overcrowding in emergency departments is top of the agenda at a meeting between hospital consultants and the Health Minister Leo Varadkar today.

It comes as nurses are balloted on industrial action over the issue, with an all-out strike in the run-up to Christmas a possibility.

Last week, a 91-year-old man was left on a trolley for 29 hours at Tallaght Hospital - and a 93-year-old woman had the same wait on a trolley at Beaumont.

President of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association Dr Gerard Crotty says the main cause of the crisis in a lack of capacity, and there is not enough money allocated to deal with it:

"The increase in the budget for the health service as whole is very, very small so we're very concerned that this is not going to be adequate," he said.

"One of the things we will be discussing with the minister today is actually the amount of that resource that will go towards the acute hospitals and towards those other services that support getting patients out of acute hospitals when their acute care is finished."

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