Politicans told to get back to work as hospital staff hailed as heroes

Gerard Holloway
Gerard Holloway

Craigavon Hospital staff have been hailed as heroes by a local man who has called out local politicians to ‘get their act together’

Businessman Gerard Holloway was rushed into hospital on Saturday morning with all the symptoms of a stroke but said he felt like running out at what he saw.

Mr Holloway, originally from Dungiven but now living in Craigavon, described it as ‘like a zoo’.

Mr Holloway had huge praise for the hospital staff but felt that the lack of political empathy for the people who use the service left much to be desired.

He laid the blame of what he described as a ‘health service on its knees’ firmly with the politicians.

Gerard spent four days in hospital and was discharged on Christmas Eve.

He said: “My main worry however is regarding the actual health service itself as opposed to my personal health.

“I attended A&E at 11am on Saturday and was admitted some 13 hours later shortly after midnight. The situation in Craigavo Hospital is dire, I must confess I did not realise the full extent of the health service crises until I had first hand experience. People on trolleys and beds in corridors, at one point 28 people waiting admission. Sick people some really sick people lying in corridors.

“An understaffed and frazzled medical team, one nurse I spoke to was looking after 11 people, two of which were requiring ongoing and consistent attention. (My conversation was quite literally 20 seconds)

“I was transferred to a ward and moved the next day to another ward (a “bed bingo” type scenario.) In this side room there were no tables or chairs and no bedside lockers and as I was mobile and “Compos mentis” I went and begged, stole and borrowed those items for my self and my new room mate.

“I call on Carla Lockhart (MP), Dolores Kelly (MLA), John O’Dowd (MlA) and Doug Beattie (MLA) to go and take a look, unannounced. Seriously the time for rhetoric is over. Sort out your differences,as the jewel that is the Health service needs political attention before the Tories sell it off. It is only the glue that is the fantastic and dedicated staff that is holding the whole thing together but it is crumbling.

“So I ask you, our politicians as I sit here in the small hours of a Christmas morning, are you prepared to do something or simply talk for another three years?”

A spokesperson for the Southern Trust said: “Our hospitals continue to be very extremely busy with increasing numbers of children and older, sicker people with complex conditions attending and being admitted.

“Our hospital buildings simply do not have sufficient capacity for the number of patients we are now caring for and it’s true that our staff continue to do their best by managing high numbers of ill patients in a challenging environment.

“We are very grateful for Mr Holloway’s kind words of support for our staff, and would be very happy to meet with him to hear first hand of his experience while a patient in Craigavon.”