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Dark day for healthcare delivery – Ó Caoláin

6 April, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Fein Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described Monday 6th April as "a dark day for healthcare delivery" with the removal of 24-hour Accident and Emergency services from Ennis and Nenagh hospitals and the removal of breast cancer services from the Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"The axe has now fallen on 24-hour A&E services at Nenagh and Ennis Hospitals. This is a severe blow to the people of North Tipperary, of County Clare and of the Mid-West region. It is a dark day for healthcare delivery in this State as the Fianna Fáil/Green Government drives forward with its centralisation policy and downgrades local hospitals.

"The HSE report on A&E services in the Mid-West that heralded this move was jointly authored by Teamwork, the British-based management consultants whose recommendations form the basis for the current policy of slashing services at local hospitals and over-centralising services in already overstretched regional hospitals.

"The ending of 24-hour A&E services at Ennis and Nenagh will lead to further downgrading of those hospitals and their eventual conversion to glorified day care centres. We are almost at that stage in Monaghan General Hospital where the HSE and Government propose to end all acute inpatient services in June. Yet only last week Health Minister Harney had the gall to claim in reply to a Dáil question from me that they were ‘not centralising’.

"We have repeatedly warned that the downgrading of Monaghan General Hospital was being used as a blueprint for hospitals throughout the State. This is clearly the case now and communities across the country will feel the effect in terms of poorer healthcare provision.

"The news that from today breast cancer services are being removed from the Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda to Beaumont in Dublin is a further cause for concern. Breast cancer patients in the North East region will now face longer distances to travel for treatment to Beaumont, a hospital that is already under huge pressure in terms of patient numbers and shortage of beds and staff." ENDS

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