This is our last opportunity to have the Taoiseach answer questions on Leaders' Questions before the summer recess. I will start by quoting Paul Byrne of Tallaght, who said, "The next time I go to A&E again I'd rather not be breathing." He was the patient who, during a visit to hospital, found that, when he returned from the toilet, his trolley had been taken for another patient. We have had lists of promises and statistics from the Taoiseach and his Ministers over the last few years regarding accident and emergency units. On 7 January 2004 there were 179 patients on trolleys in Dublin accident and emergency units. On 3 February there were 207 patients, on 26 April 160, and on 22 June 150. The figures for summer are almost the same as for winter, despite the fact that €11 billion is being spent on health services.
That is not confined to the Eastern Regional Health Authority area, and those situations will be exacerbated by the requirements of the working time directive when it enters force later this year. Similar problems have been experienced in University College Hospital, Galway, in Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar, in the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore, the Mid-West Regional Hospital in Limerick, Naas General Hospital and Wexford General Hospital.
The Taoiseach has examined the economic situation, which is quite strong. He has said publicly that we have more money to spend, and the Tánaiste has said that we have three years in which to put the boot to the floor. Is the Taoiseach satisfied, and does he agree with me, that the structure that currently applies is not capable of delivering 24-hour accident and emergency services for those who need them when they need them and that it must be radically altered now? Does the Taoiseach intend providing extra moneys this year to deal with the provision of 24-hour accident and emergency cover in hospitals throughout the country for people who need it and currently cannot get it? Will it continue to be the case that, if they go there, they will find themselves lying on trolleys for days on end?