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Costs and outcome of x-ray review must be addressed / Full enquiry needed - Ó Caoláin

4 November, 2008 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called for a Dáil debate on the outcome of the HSE's review of chest x-rays and CT scans in Drogheda and Navan hospitals and has also questioned the huge cost of the review at over €330,000, a sum which will come out of the budget for hospitals in the North East region. The Sinn Féin TD has also called for a full public enquiry into the "systemic failures" that led to this review, a fact acknowledged by the HSE's Stephen Mulvany.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"There needs to be a full Dáil debate and full accountability from the Minister for Health & Children Mary Harney and the HSE on the outcome of this review of chest x-rays and CT scans in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda and Our Lady's Hospital in Navan. A full public enquiry into what the HSE's Stephen Mulvany referred to as the "systemic failures" which led to this review is also needed.

"The review has acknowledged that the delayed diagnoses resulted in lost opportunities for patients in relation to cure prospects, additional life-span and earlier palliative care. It admits that worry, uncertainty and distress was caused for families and the delayed diagnoses reduced the time available to them to come to terms with the serious diagnosis and the impending death of their family member. These are very serious conclusions and all the lessons of what occurred must be learned and corrective measures must be implemented and seen to be implemented.

"Serious questions must also be asked about the excessive cost of the review itself. Questions to the HSE through the Dublin/North East Health Forum from my party colleague Cllr. Tomás Sharkey have revealed that the review has cost in excess of €330,000. More alarming still is the fact that this is to come out of the already restricted budgets for the running of the two hospitals concerned. The Minister must explain how such an exorbitant cost could have been incurred. No-one questions the necessity for the review but both the outcome of the review and the cost of the review itself further undermine public confidence in Government and HSE management of our health services." ENDS

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