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Harney must stop HSE cutbacks, including staffing cuts

13 March, 2008

Sinn Féin Dáil Leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD demanded that Health Minister Mary Harney call a halt to the cuts and restore staffing and recruitment to the level required to ensure safe and effective patient care. He described as "farcical" the claim by the Minister that the health service is well staffed.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"The Minister for Health & Children must make herself accountable to the Dáil for the continuing impact of cuts imposed by the HSE. She must take action to prevent the further cuts of €300 million threatened by HSE Chief Executive Brendan Drumm.

"The Minister has claimed that the health service is well staffed. This is a farcical claim. This week we have learned that the promised Medical Assessment Units in Cavan, Navan and Drogheda Hospitals which were due to open later this year are now under threat due to staffing shortages.

"The chairperson of the Medical Board in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda has had to offer a portion of his salary to employ an essential additional nurse-midwife at the maternity unit. When the maternity unit at Monaghan General Hospital was closed we correctly predicted that enormous pressure would be put on the Lourdes Hospital maternity unit and that given the Health Department and HSE record, the resources would not be forthcoming to meet the need.

"Minister Harney has claimed that there should be redundancies in the health services. Let her set out where she considers redundancies should take place given the impact on patient care of current staffing restrictions and in light the Labour Court ruling that the HSE was in breach of Towards 2016 and the EU Information and Consultation Directive in the manner in which it introduced, without prior consultation, staffing restrictions in September 2007." CRÍOCH

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