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Dermatology services have ground to a halt in North East region

11 August, 2008 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has highlighted a crisis in dermatology services in the North East HSE region comprising Counties Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath. With a chronic waiting list in the Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda and St. James's Hospital in Dublin unable to take patients from outside its official catchment area, Deputy Ó Caoláin has revealed that patients are being referred by doctors to private service-providers in the Six Counties to whom they have to pay fees.

The Sinn Féin Dáil leader said:

"Dermatology services in the North East region have ground to a halt. GPs in the region have been written to by the Dermatology Department in St. James's Hospital, Dublin, to inform them that St. James's will no longer take referrals from this region or any other region outside its own catchment area due to the limitations of 'current resources'.

"The regional referral centre for the North East is the Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. The waiting list for dermatology at the Lourdes is chronic. It is so bad that GPs in the North East are now referring patients requiring dermatological treatment to private service-providers in the Six Counties. Patients are paying fees for treatment to which they are entitled free of charge.

"This is a disgraceful situation and is causing distress to patients. It is yet another manifestation of the real effects of health cuts on real people, contrary to the false claims of Health Minister Mary Harney and HSE Chief Brendan Drumm that the cuts would not affect patient care." ENDS

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