Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Latest cancer debacle indicts HSE and Health Minister- Ó Caoláin

5 November, 2007


Commenting on the controversy over mammography at the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise, Sinn Féin Health and Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the Health Service Executive could not shirk its responsibility.

Deputy Ó Caoláin stated:

"People throughout the country have been appalled at the plight of the women who were given the all-clear after breast cancer screening in the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise but who were later diagnosed with cancer. More women may well be affected. Our sympathy and solidarity goes to these women.

"Neither the Health Service Executive nor Health Minister Mary Harney can shirk their responsibility for this situation. The HSE is directly responsible for public hospital services. It has a duty to ensure that proper standards are maintained.

"There needs to be a thorough investigation of what went wrong at the Midland General Hospital. Any investigation must be open and transparent.

"It is disgraceful for HSE Chief Executive Professor Brendan Drumm to try to shift the blame for this situation onto the people of Portlaoise and the Midlands because, like people in other regions, they have opposed any threatened downgrading and loss of services at their hospital.

"This latest crisis exposes the overall lack of coherent policy and planning at Government and HSE level. For example, Professor Drumm and Minister Harney have publicly disagreed on whether radiation oncology should be delivered through the public or the private system.

"What is needed urgently is comprehensive cancer care provided in the public healthcare system and available to all based on need alone, regardless of ability to pay and without discrimination based on geographic location. Nothing less is acceptable." CRÍOCH

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