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Scandalous recruitment ban must be overturned – Ó Caoláin

2 October, 2007


Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said the health service unions are fully justified in now contemplating protest action against the ban on recruitment of staff for hospitals and other healthcare facilities in a cost-cutting exercise. Speaking in the Dáil this evening, on a Private Members Motion seeking to overturn the recruitment freeze, Deputy Ó Caoláin said those parts of the health service that are already disadvantaged will be worst hit by this recruitment freeze.

He said, "It is scandalous that the HSE is imposing a ban on recruitment of staff for hospitals and other healthcare facilities in a cost-cutting exercise. This comes on top of ongoing backlogs and delays in the appointments of front-line staff in our health services. There is already a shortage of health professionals across a range of services and now further hardship is being imposed on patients as hospital waiting lists will inevitably lengthen as a result of this decision.

"During the General Election Fianna Fáil urged people to support them to take 'the next steps'. It seems the 'next steps' are now healthcare cuts in the public system while the Government carries on with its disgraceful plan to reward the private for-profit health system with public land and tax breaks under their notorious co-location scheme.

"The HSE has cited an alleged overspend of €140 million by hospitals to justify these cuts. But last July the HSE announced its final abandonment of the failed PPARS computer system which up to 2005 had cost €130 million. The Government and the HSE are jointly responsible for failed policy and gross mismanagement leading to poorer care for patients.

"Those parts of the health service that are already disadvantaged will be worst hit by this recruitment freeze. The HSE earlier this year announced 60 new consultancy posts for hospitals throughout the State but not a single one of them was allocated to the North East region comprising Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath. The current HSE cuts serve to compound this gross injustice.

"The health service unions are fully justified in now contemplating protest action. The false claims by Health Minister Harney and HSE Chief Executive Brendan Drumm that the cuts will not affect patient care are being fully exposed with hospitals around the State having to curtail services." ENDS

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