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OECD Report blows HSE plan for hospitals in North East out of the water - Ó Caoláin

29 April, 2008


Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said that the OECD study on the reconfiguration of hospital services in the North East region undermines the very basis of the HSE's plans to centralise hospital services in the North East and to downgrade Monaghan, Dundalk and Navan hospitals.

Deputy Ó Caoláin stated:

"The OECD's detailed study of the proposed centralisation of hospital services in the North East region is a damning indictment of the Government and the HSE. It effectively blows the HSE plans for hospitals in the North East out of the water as it undermines the very basis of that plan.

"The OECD points out that the HSE bases its plan to collapse five hospitals into two, and eventually into one, on a British model presented by the Royal College of Surgeons in England. This model says that the catchment population size for a general hospital is 450,000 to 500,000. But as the OECD points out, other countries such as France and Germany provide general hospitals of 500 beds for much smaller catchment sizes - 150,000.

"The OECD report clearly shows that the HSE failed to properly examine international models. They urge the Irish government to take a broader look at international systems and examine the possibility of different configurations, including two general hospitals in the North East.

"Equally damning is the OECD conclusion that the promised services in primary care and community services are not in place in advance of the HSE's proposed downgrading of hospitals. The OECD says these 'must be dealt with first'.

"The worsening shortage of GPs in the North East region and in the State generally is also confirmed by the OECD report. This has been repeatedly highlighted by GPs themselves and by elected representatives, including myself. Yet sufficient training places for GPs are not being provided by the HSE.

"This report must prompt the Government and the HSE to go back to the drawing board and to withdraw their death sentence for hospitals in the North East region." ENDS

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