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Ó Caoláin in call for determined campaign against health cuts

30 April, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Dáil Leader and Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, speaking at a public meeting on Health in Clondalkin, Dublin, has called for a determined campaign involving communities and trade unions across the economy against the cuts to the public health services being imposed by the Fianna Fáil/Green Party Government.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"On this eve of May Day, International Workers Day, I make a call to the trade union movement, not only within the health services but across the economy, to join with communities in mounting a determined campaign against the health cuts, to save our public health services and to demand health justice.

"As we speak the Fianna Fáil/Green Party Government, through the Health Service Executive, is mounting the most serious assault on our public health services since the 1980s.

"These latest health cuts began in the autumn of 2007 but they are now being escalated. The recruitment ban, recently reinforced, means that most posts which become vacant in our public health services are not being filled.

"A memo leaked to the media last week showed that the HSE is looking to cut the number of nurses by 700.

"In addition the HSE has ordered that contracts for so-called temporary workers should not be renewed. This will mean that up to 14,000 workers will be lost to our public health services – that’s 14,000 fewer people to look after those who need care and 14,000 more people on the dole queues.

"Cuts are being made to achieve so-called savings. But they are not savings either in money terms or, more importantly, in terms of people’s health.

"An example is the disgraceful decision by Mary Harney to cancel the planned cervical cancer vaccine programme for 12-year-old girls.

"This week the first review of vaccination policy in 40 European countries was published and it found that this State is one of the few in Europe that does not have some form of cervical cancer vaccination programme. This State and Iceland were the only countries to postpone the vaccine programme for economic reasons.

"The lives of women are being put at risk to make a so-called saving of €10 million per year. But in 2006 alone – the last year for which figures are available – the Government gave tax breaks of €10.6 million to developers of private for-profit hospitals.

"This is the second most common cancer in women aged 15 to 44 and about 73 women die from it every year in this State. Shame on the Minister and the Government for their decision." ENDS

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