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Closure of ward at Portiuncula Hospital direct result of Harney’s health cuts

18 December, 2007

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said the forced closure of a ward at Portiuncula Hospital in Galway due to the HSE recruitment freeze is yet another indictment of Health Minister Mary Harney. The 24-bed gynaecology ward is due to close from December 23rd till the end of January due to staff shortages making a mockery of Mary Harney's pledge that HSE cuts and the recruitment freeze would not effect patient care.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said today, "The planned closure of the ward at Portiuncula Hospital in Galway is yet another indictment of Mary Harney's record as Health Minister. When the HSE began to impose cuts this autumn both Minister Harney and HSE Chief Brendan Drumm said that cuts would not affect patient care. This was quickly exposed as services were curtailed and wards closed. The Orthopaedic Unit for the North-East region, serving four Counties, and located at Our Lady's Hospital, Navan, has been closed for most of December.

"Now we find another hospital closing an entire ward due to a shortfall of 40 nursing staff. Once again, as in the diagnostic breast cancer scandal in the Midlands, it is women who are being effected. The cap on recruitment to the health services is also a major factor here and is affecting patient care directly. That cap should be lifted with emphasis on recruitment of essential front-line staff." ENDS

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