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Health Partnership Report confirms centralisation drive – Ó Caoláin

13 May, 2008

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson and Cavan/Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, commenting on the publication of the previously leaked 'Health Partnership Report' recommending Navan as the location for a regional hospital in the North East, stated:

"This previously leaked report confirms the ruthless drive by the Government and the HSE to centralise hospital services in the North East region, firstly in Drogheda and Cavan and ultimately, in one general hospital.

"At the time the report was leaked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern stated that there was 'not a red cent' to build the proposed general hospital. He has never been contradicted by the Minister for Health & Children Mary Harney or HSE Chief Executive Brendan Drumm.

"From the first announcement of a proposed new regional hospital for the North East, I have made clear that the primary issue for Sinn Féin in this region was our support for existing local hospitals, our opposition to their downgrading and our firm belief that centralising virtually all hospital services in one location would be disastrous. We also sought to impress on those tasked with identifying a proposed site the importance of locating in the northern reaches of the North East region to facilitate and be in a position to maximise the potential that can arise from cross border co-operation in the provision of acute hospital facilities.

"This report comes in the wake of the revelation of the HSE's plans to drastically downgrade Monaghan General Hospital and to massively increase the burden on Cavan General Hospital, without providing a single additional bed at Cavan.

"We are expected to accept loss of services and cuts in services on the totally spurious basis that better care will be provided in two general hospitals and then in one general hospital for Counties Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath.

"This ruthless drive to downgrade and centralise hospital services will be resisted as the people of Monaghan demonstrated in their thousands last weekend when they rallied in support of Monaghan General Hospital." ENDS

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