HSE Denies Moving Patients for Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar’s visit to Mayo General Hospital

“Last Tuesday I submitted a question to the HSE West Forum seeking clarification on reports that patients and trolleys had been removed from the A&E Department of Mayo General Hospital, the weekend of the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in Castlebar, due to Minister for Health Leo Varadkar’s visit to the hospital. The reply I received was disappointing to say the least. The HSE has denied any such conduct and stated: “There were no special arrangements put in place relating to the transfer of patients in Mayo General Hospital in advance of or during Minister Varadkar’s recent visit.” The HSE went on to say that there was a six day period from Saturday 21st February to Thursday 26th February where there were zero patients on trolleys. I find this difficult to believe given the levels of patients on trolleys nationally for that six day period averaged 376, with the highest day on 24th February having 396 patients on trolleys nationally. To put that into context, last Tuesday there was 363 patients nationally on trolleys with 25 of those patients at Mayo General, so with lower figures last week in Mayo General we still had 25 patients on trolleys and we are expected to believe that when the national figures were higher, Mayo General had zero patients on trolleys; people can make up their own minds on this.” says Chambers

“It is quite miraculous that Mayo General Hospital managed to have zero patients on trolleys at a time when the national figures were higher than they were last week and when there were 25 patients on trolleys at the hospital last Tuesday. One could say that the figures simply don’t add up and the only explanation that I can think of is that there was a concerted effort to reduce completely the numbers of patients on trolleys in advance of Minster Varadkar’s visit.” says Chambers

“I don’t believe this is something that is restricted to Mayo General hospital. Following my question to the HSE Executive I received a call from a man that had been a patient in Merlin Park and he said a similar thing happened there with patients being moved and fresh flowers being bought in advance of the Minister’s visit. I would suspect that similar practices are employed in other hospitals when the Minister for Health comes to visit. I believe the Minister for Health is aware of this and appreciates the need to have surprise spot visits in order for him to really see what is going on in our hospitals. Clearly there is no point in hiding the mess from the person responsible for fixing it.” continues Chambers

“If this practice is occurring then the HSE need to own up to it and put a stop to it. In my view such a practice can only have an adverse impact on patient heath and welfare. I am obviously disappointed that the HSE has denied such conduct as this will only ensure the practice continues. Needless to say I intend to keep a close eye on any such further conduct at Mayo General Hospital to help ensure it never happens again.” says Chambers