The Minister of Health entered the ranks of a medical Christmas holiday, saying that the Taoiseach has the right to call hospital staff to cancel the holiday during the holiday season.
As the war of words intensifies, Simon Harris said that Leo Varadkar was "completely correct." However, he transferred the responsibility for the implementation of the HSE measure, saying: "The management of the hospital facility is responsible for ensuring this."
In his appeal to limit holidays, Mr. Varadkar in particular referred to nurses and consultants of hospitals, in particular to consultants of emergency medicine.
Yesterday he doubled his comments on the day that nearly 600 patients remained in hospital prams.
Mr. Harris's decision to add support sparked the anger of trade unions, including Irish nurses and midwifery organizations (INMO), whose members are currently preparing for a strike.
INMO, the Irish Association of Emergency Medicine (IAEM) and the Irish Association of Hospital Consultants have accused Mr. Varadkar of attempting to rebound from the real crisis, including the absence of a winter plan and insufficient bed capacity.
IHCA President Donal O & # 39; Hanlon said the Taoiseach comments were an attempt to "banalize the very serious shortage of a hospital bed." He said that the trolleybus crisis is not only a Christmas issue, but a "crisis all year round" due to the lack of capital investment in public hospitals.
Dr. O & # 39; Hanlon said that hundreds of thousands of patients were in wheelchairs and waiting lists because there are not enough beds and that more than 500 permanent positions for hospital consultants are not available.
INMO Secretary General Phil Ní Shéaghdha said that the comments are "just distracting from the real problem, or lack of a winter plan."
She said she was looking for a meeting of the ED Task Force for some time, but the first available date for the HSE and the Department of Health is November 19.
The HSE said "it is currently analyzing the possibilities in terms of deliverability and impact this winter in the context of additional one-off € 10 million funding, and the final plan will be submitted to the Department of Health for approval this week."
The president of the IAEM, Emily O & # 39; Conor, said she did not know why Mr. Varadkar was "so flammable" and that "focusing on erectile dysfunction and canceling the leave was the absolute bad end of the stick."
"I do not know if this is a political trick to counteract the lack of bed skills," she said, adding that she "will do nothing to attract employees to work in the HSE."
She stated that the structure of the health service is such that the majority of services – except ED – operate five days a week, and until it changes into services seven days a week, there will always be problems with overcrowding.
Oncologist consultant and former Sen. John Crown said that hospital staff are entitled to state holidays.
The Taoiseach said: "It makes sense if you run your service or company well to always ensure that you are responding to peak demand with the highest resources."
Harris said that important levels of employment in hospitals, including emergency departments, in diagnostic services and in social and primary care services, are sufficient to enable employees to provide the services that patients need during this period.
He said that providing this "helps avoid significant growth at the beginning of the new year".
He said that the lessons learned from last year's winter crisis meant that this time the employee rotors were part of the planning process for the winter and holiday period.
"It's all part of the discussions that take place between the department and the HSE," he said.