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HSE hypocrisy in promising ‘world class health service – Ó Caoláin

18 January, 2008

Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caolain TD has said that the Health Service Executive is guilty of 'hypocrisy' in again promising a 'world class health service' with improved primary and acute hospital care while their current cutbacks are hitting patient care at all levels of the health service.

The Sinn Féin Dáil leader said, "Launching a review of acute hospital bed capacity HSE Chief Brendan Drumm spoke again of developing a world class health system. He spoke of the need for more patients to be treated on a day-case basis and to develop primary care. This can only be described as hypocrisy. It comes in the wake of the HSE's refusal to provide the additional resources needed to increase the number of GP training places to 150 this year, a minimum figure which will not even maintain the current ratio of GPs to population. This State now has just under one GP per 2,000 of the population, compared to the EU average of 1,000. How then can Professor Drumm claim that primary care will be developed and will reduce the need for stays in acute hospitals?

"Professor Drumm has consistently opposed increasing the number of acute hospital beds. There is widespread agreement that 3,000 additional beds are needed to fill the gaps created by cutbacks in the '80s and since and by our growing and ageing population. It is not a case of either more beds or more efficiency. We need both but the Government and the HSE have failed to deliver both.

"This week we learned that the HSE is refusing to sanction the filling of essential front-line hospital posts until other posts fall vacant or are 'suppressed'. The Government and HSE are rigidly enforcing the cap on numbers employed in the health services regardless of the adverse effect on patient care. In this context it is nonsense for the HSE to talk of developing a world-class health service on the basis of our current two-tier, inequitable and inefficient system." ENDS

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