The endemic problem of overcrowding in Ireland’s hospitals is to be addressed with a radical new plan to assign hospital patients to prison hospital wings.
The Government has announced plans to alleviate hospital overcrowding by sending suitable elderly patients to underused prison hospital wings.
A Joint Departmental Initiative
The Joint-Initiative between the Departments of Health and Justice was unveiled today at a press conference held in Dublin’s Buswell Hotel.
Speaking to the press, Department of Health spokesperson Connor O’Riordan said. “It’s simply a case of ‘needs must.’ The Prison Service has all these hospital wings standing empty and the Health Service has all these overcrowded hospitals.
“It’s just a matter of getting the right type of patient and lobbing them behind bars for a few weeks while they undergo treatment. It’s not rocket science,” the spokesperson said.
Pooling together resources
“It is a matter of matching up resources,” according to George Blake, a senior administrator with the Irish Prison Service. “In the main, our normal prisoners are a fairly healthy lot.
“They are mostly young fit lads who get into trouble. They really don’t get sick all that often,” he added. “Therefore, the hospital wings are not used all that much.
“We must also keep in mind that when our lads are in jail, they are well fed and looked after, unlike the general hospital patients who are treated woefully, it must be said.
“They are normally old fellas and women on pensions without adequate food or heating at home. Shur, it’s no wonder they’re always getting winter flu and vomiting bugs.”
Department of Health Studies
Studies carried out by the Department of Health show that long-term elderly patients would be the most suitable category of patient to be transferred to the country’s jails.
Connor O’Riordan later told reporters; “You have to remember that most of these old people are bed-blocking and by shifting them off to jail hospitals we will free up loads of beds.
“These beds can then go to those who are on private health coverage — we make more money on them,” he added, without a hint of hesitation.
Visiting times curtailed
“Yes, we understand that because of the security procedures in jails, visiting times will need to be curtailed, but as most of them don’t get visitors all that often, so that won’t be a problem.
“Anyway, we hope to increase the dosage for those patients on tranquilisers and sleeping tablets, half of them won’t even notice the difference.
“And as far as wearing handcuffs — we honestly think it will be an advantage in that it will stop them shuffling around the corridors as they do now. Jaysus! That’s an awful pain in the ass for staff,” he concluded.
Government keen to seek embarrassment
Meanwhile in Ireland’s Health correspondent Fionnuala McDermott reports that the ‘relocation’ of patients will begin shortly after the next general election, so that the plans will not cause any embarrassment for the Government.
Families who do occasionally visit their elderly relatives in a hospital are advised to check the local prisons first and arrange a suitable visiting time. Packages containing Lemonade, grapes, cards and flowers may be subjected to security checks.