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Universal public healthcare is only guarantee of equality and efficiency – Ó Caoláin

11 October, 2008


Speaking during his attendance at the Public Health Service Campaign March and Rally in Dublin, Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said any cuts in public health services in next week's Budget should be "opposed and resisted in every way possible". He said Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for universal public healthcare, free at the point of delivery and funded from fair and progressive taxation.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"Today's march demonstrates the demand for decent public health services at a time when Government and HSE cuts are already causing hardship to patients across the State. These cuts are being carried out in the name of 'cost saving' but they represent a totally false economy. Services in hospitals are being shut down for weeks on end but staff continue to be paid and facilities to be maintained. As a result, waiting lists will lengthen, the health outcomes of patients will deteriorate and the medium to long-term costs to the health services will escalate.

"The Fianna Fáil-Green government is preparing to impose cuts in next week's Budget. Unless there is an increase in the Health budget at the very least in line with inflation then severe cuts in services to patients will result. The Government must draw back from the brink. It must not repeat the disastrous mistakes of the 1980s when our public health services were decimated by cuts, the legacy of which still haunts the system today.

"Any cuts in public health services in next week's Budget should be opposed and resisted in every way possible.

"Fundamental reform, including the end of the two-tier public-private system, is the only guarantee of equality and efficiency in healthcare in Ireland. Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for universal public healthcare, free at the point of delivery and funded from fair and progressive taxation.

"Contrary to the incorrect report in yesterday's Irish Times, Sinn Féin remains fully committed to free universal public healthcare." ENDS

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