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Harney and HSE presiding over cancer care chaos - Ó Caoláin

11 November, 2007

Commenting on the ending of breast cancer services at MullingarHospital and the MidlandRegionalHospital in Portlaoise by the HSE, Sinn spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said Health Minister Harney and the HSE are “presiding over a chaotic situation”.


Deputy Ó Caoláin said:


“The major question on which Health Minister Harney and the HSE must be challenged is why they were able to stand over breast cancer services at Portlaoise and Mullingar last week but are not able to do so this week. Why has it taken the misdiagnosis of women and the re-checking of thousands of mammography tests for the HSE to change its mind about services at these two hospitals?


“It can only be concluded that Minister Harney and the HSE are presiding over a chaotic situation. They should never have allowed this situation to arise. Where a service is provided at a hospital it is up to the Minister and the HSE to ensure that it meets the required standards. It is up to them that these services are properly resourced in terms of personnel and equipment.


“We now have a situation where, instead of ensuring that services can be resumed at these hospitals on a proper basis, the HSE and the Minister are closing the services but providing no adequate alternative. Once again services at local hospitals are being taken away with only the promise that better services will be provided at some time in the future at the long-promised centres of excellence.


“This latest crisis in our health services has also exposed the inadequacy of the Health Information and Quality Authority as established in legislation by the Health Minister. It does not have the power to monitor compliance with standards in the private hospital system as it does in the public system. This was pointed out at the time of the passage of the legislation through the Oireachtas yet the Government allowed HIQA to proceed without adequate powers.” CRÍOCH



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