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Closure of Regional Orthopaedic Unit must not be allowed to go ahead – Ó Caoláin

17 September, 2008

Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described as "appalling" the prospect that the Regional Orthopaedic Unit serving Counties Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath may be closing from October to the end of January 2009.

Speaking today Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"The Health Service Executive is not denying reports that it is about to close the Orthopaedic Unit at Our Lady's Hospital, Navan for four months. Information received by my colleague Sinn Féin Cllr. Joe Reilly indicates that this is the prospect as a result of yet more HSE cutbacks.

"This is an appalling prospect as it would mean the cutting of a key service for an entire region of the country for four months. People throughout Counties Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath would be affected by this, especially the elderly. The knock-on effect would be pain for many individual patients and longer waiting lists going into 2009.

"The HSE North East claims that it is looking at a range of issues as part of the current so-called cost-cutting measures. One thing is certain, the cuts now being imposed across the health services are hitting patient care on a daily basis, giving the lie to the claims of Health Minister Mary Harney and HSE Chief Brendan Drumm that such care would not be affected.

"The closure of the Orthopaedic Unit for the North East must not be allowed to go ahead. I will be raising the issue on the resumption of the Dáil next week. If the Government and the HSE are allowed to impose cutbacks of this sort, the cost to our people in terms of poorer health will be incalculable." ENDS

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