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Varadkar shows true colours with latest attack on nurses and doctors - David Cullinane TD

7 November, 2018 - by David Cullinane TD


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers' Rights David Cullinane TD has said that the Taoiseach’s latest attack on nurses and doctors regarding annual leave arrangements is a vindictive attempt to shift the blame for hospital overcrowding away from him and his government.

Speaking at Leaders' Questions in the Dáil today, Deputy Cullinane said:

“There are fleeting moments when we see the true character of the Taoiseach and his attitude towards workers and others in society.

“We got a true glimpse of this when Mr Varadkar was Minister for Social Protection with his welfare cheats crusade which tuned out to be nothing more than a personal adventure in search of publicity.

“Similarly, Mr Varadkar also exposed his attitude to workers and industrial relations when he proposed a Thatcherite strike ban in the run up to the Fine Gael leadership election. 

“Therefore, it is little wonder that when confronted with his own failures, and the failures of his government, in addressing hospital overcrowding that he should seek to shift the blame onto hardworking nurses and doctors.

“Nurses and doctors leave is not a problem; it does not contribute to the problem of patients on trolleys and hospital overcrowding.

“The problem of overcrowding is due to capacity problems and the continuing and worsening recruitment and retention crisis, amongst other things.

"It is up to the government to address those continuing and escalating issues, and in eight years in government they have completely failed to address the trolley crisis.

“Indeed, as Minister for Health, Deputy Varadkar missed targets, saw record numbers of patients on trolleys, oversaw botched recruitment schemes, saw the numbers on waiting lists soar, abandoned universal health care, perpetuated the drive towards the privatisation of the health service and generally stumbled from one disaster to the next.

“So for the Taoiseach to attack health service workers for his, and his government’s failures, is gutter politics. Blaming nurses and doctors for challenges in health system will not address these problems and it most certainly will not help with recruitment and retention challenges.

“To tackle overcrowding we need strategic planning to increase capacity through opening beds, we need to address the recruitment and retention of crisis, we need adequate step down facilities and home support packages, and we need to have a proper move towards primary and community care.

“It would serve the Taoiseach better to address these issues instead of taking cheap shots at our nurses and doctors."

“Indeed, as Minister for Health, Deputy Varadkar missed targets, saw record numbers of patients on trolleys, oversaw botched recruitment schemes, saw the numbers on waiting lists soar, abandoned universal health care, perpetuated the drive towards the privatisation of the health service and generally stumbled from one disaster to the next.

“So for the Taoiseach to attack health service workers for his, and his government’s failures, is gutter politics. Blaming nurses and doctors for challenges in health system will not address these problems and it most certainly will not help with recruitment and retention challenges.

“To tackle overcrowding we need strategic planning to increase capacity through opening beds, we need to address the recruitment and retention of crisis, we need adequate step down facilities and home support packages, and we need to have a proper move towards primary and community care.

“It would serve the Taoiseach better to address these issues instead of taking cheap shots at our nurses and doctors."

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