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Stephen Donnelly’s high-stakes move to unwind medics’ stranglehold on health service

Emergency changes to rosters at weekends have been shown to reduce hospital trolley numbers but HSE chief Bernard Gloster and health minister Stephen Donnelly can expect stiff resistance in their bid to introduce weekend work on a permanent basis

Patients on trolleys in Limerick: Emergency changes to rosters helped move people through the system and trolley numbers fell through the rest of January. Picture: Press 22

As the number of people on hospital trolleys reached a new record of 991 in early January, Stephen Donnelly called the senior executive team of the HSE to the Department of Health for an emergency meeting to address serious overcrowding.

The Minister for Health had a clear solution in mind.

Donnelly told the executives that not only would they need to roster consultants and health staff over weekends to relieve acute overcrowding, but they would ...