Sinn Féin Health spokesperson and Cavan/Monaghan candidate Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has challenged Fine Gael Health spokesperson James Reilly to state if he will reverse recent cuts to healthcare, including the imminent cuts to out-of-hours GP services in Counties Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath.
Ó Caoláin said:
“James Reilly is hoping to be Health Minister if there is a Fine Gael-led Government. I challenge him to state now if he will reverse recent savage cuts to healthcare. We have heard much about Fine Gael's 'Faircare' plan but very little about whether unfair and unsafe cutbacks to public health services will be reversed by a Fine Gael-dominated administration.
“The HSE is planning on 1 March, four days after the General Election, to cut the out-of-hours GP service in a whole region covering Counties Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath. These cuts will mean that, for example, from midnight until 8am one out-of-hours GP will be expected to serve all of Counties Cavan and Monaghan.
“As a GP himself, James Reilly must know that this cut places lives in danger, especially considering the closure of emergency departments in Monaghan, Dundalk and Navan hospitals. Will he restore the services removed from these hospitals and from hospitals across the State?
“I call on James Reilly to make a public commitment to reverse the out-of-hours cut immediately if he gets into office and, indeed, to improve the service.
“Fine Gael's 'Faircare' plan promises much but is fundamentally flawed in that it introduces a privatised model of healthcare that would give health insurance companies undue influence on the delivery of care. The real test of Fine Gael on health will be exactly what they do if they get into office and if they will reverse the savage cutbacks.” ENDS