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Practice of cutting hospital budgets for inefficiency must be halted – Ó Caoláin

14 January, 2008

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson and Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called for an end to the practice of cutting hospital budgets as punishment for failing alleged efficiency tests. Speaking today after it was revealed that sixteen hospitals across the state face cuts of more than €10million Deputy Ó Caoláin said Health Minister Mary Harney is effectively punishing patients and plunging struggling hospitals into further trouble.

He said, "Minister Harney's annual practice of punishing hospitals for alleged inefficiency must be brought to an end. The Minister is effectively punishing patients while plunging struggling hospitals into further trouble.

"On the one hand the Minister has stifled the progression of hospitals by imposing a cap on the numbers of health workers recruited while on the other she punishes them for failing efficiency tests. This is completely unacceptable.

"The staff who are working in the state's hospitals under extreme pressure are now to be punished with further cuts to their budgets. Staff already have to deal with the state-wide shortage of nurses, the under-provision of acute hospital beds and ongoing problems with the deployment of consultants.

"This system is more akin to awarding bonuses and penalties to production managers in factories than to a health system, and for that reason is much favoured by Minister Harney. It should be scrapped." ENDS

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