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Taoiseach's apology over baby's 11-hour wait to be admitted to hospital ward


Enda Kenny was tackled about the case of baby Orlaith at leaders' questions

Enda Kenny was tackled about the case of baby Orlaith at leaders' questions

Enda Kenny was tackled about the case of baby Orlaith at leaders' questions

The Taoiseach has apologised to the family of a six week old baby who waited 11 hours in A&E before being admitted to a children's ward.

Daniel Long and his partner Debbie Looney have complained to Cork University Hospital about the treatment of their daughter Orlaith, who was vomiting and showing signs of dehydration.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams raised the incident, which unfolded over the night of Sunday November 22, with Enda Kenny during leaders' questions in the Dail.

Mr Kenny said he empathised with the parents' concerns.

"Cork University Hospital are carrying out an investigation into why this child was on a trolley for 11 hours," he said.

"I am glad to note that the little baby Orlaith is recovering well at home and making good progress."

He added: "I'm glad the little child is recovering well. I'm sorry that she was on a trolley for those hours and I expect that the management of the hospital will respond to the minister (Leo Varadkar) and to the HSE as to why that actually happened."

The latest in a number of high profile instances of lengthy trolley waits across Ireland was highlighted on the day the cabinet signed off on a supplementary budget of 665 million euro for health.

The additional funding will cover extra services provided this year, such as free GP care for the under sixes and over 70s and the Winter Initiative to tackle emergency department overcrowding.

A number of prolonged trolley waits, including some elderly patients, have recently been exposed by whistle-blowers.

One involved a 91-year-old man who waited on a trolley in a corridor under bright lights in Tallaght Hospital for 29 hours.

Another incident in the summer involved an elderly man who has cancer being kept on a trolley in the emergency department of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, for five days.

Mr Adams told Mr Kenny an apology in the latest case was "not good enough".

"You are responsible for a health service in chaos," he said.

"And there's no point saying you are sorry - the fact is you are in charge and the fact is this government, led by Fine Gael and supported by Labour, will not adequately resource our hospitals because you do not believe in a public health model."

Earlier in leaders questions, Mr Kenny conceded that University Hospital Galway's A&E was "not fit for purpose".

"The emergency department in University College Hospital Galway is not fit for purpose in this day and age and the staff who work there, work under extraordinary conditions," he said.

"It's one of the most inadequate facilities in the country and needs to be replaced."

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has asked why a replacement of the facility was not included the Government's latest list of capital project spends for health.

The Taoiseach said he did not know what stage the design process was at but said he would make it his business to ensure that the HSE was informed of the situation

"I accept the emergency department needs to be replaced, I accept that requires design, approval, planning - all of these processes that must be gone through - and at the end of that there will be a very substantial sum invested to replace it."

He added: "This facility needs to be replaced but you can't replace them all overnight."