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Government deny cancer patients life saving treatments – Ó Caoláin

27 September, 2007

Speaking last night during Private Members Business in the Dáil Sinn Féin Oireachtas leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has slammed successive Fianna Fáil led government's for denying cancer patients life saving treatments.

Speaking from the Chamber Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"The latest scandals in our crisis-ridden health services, particularly the failure of Government to deliver radiotherapy, show once and for all that Taoiseach Ahern and Health Minister Mary Harney are unfit to govern.

"I believe that the ill-conceived, confused and mismanaged approach of the Government and the HSE to vital cancer treatment services is a far bigger scandal than anything being addressed by tribunals. Lives are being lost as a result of these failures.

"Cancer patients are being denied life-saving treatment because successive governments have failed to provide the radiation oncology facilities that are required.

"Now we find that the plan for delivery of centres by 2011 is in chaos. The State could and should have taken the lead and provided these centres directly as public facilities open to all on the basis of need alone.

"Instead the Government committed itself to public-private partnerships (PPP) to deliver them. Then it was found these would take too long. Then a review was ordered. Now we find that the delay to 2014 or even 2015 allegedly cannot be avoided.

"The mammography issue at Barrington's Hospital in Limerick has exposed the failure of the Government to ensure that private hospitals are properly accountable.

"Through the infamous 'co-location' scheme this Government is encouraging the development of more private for-profit hospitals without proper accountability. Do the Green Party members in Government remember their opposition to co-location?

"The Government has insulated the HSE from any responsibility to the local communities it is supposed to serve. Minister Harney has insulated herself from proper accountability in this Dáil. Cutbacks in hospitals must be resisted and I urge communities to mobilise to resist them." CRÍOCH

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