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Cuts and overcrowding increase danger of hospital infections – Ó Caoláin

10 November, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Commenting on the serious outbreak of the C Difficile hospital-based infection in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said that current and further proposed cutbacks in hospital services, as well as hospital centralisation, would make the battle against the infection much more difficult. He said:

“There is great concern in the North East region and across the country at the situation in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. For over a week now this serious infection outbreak has seen three wards and 70 beds closed, most ambulance and GP referrals sent to other hospitals and a bar on visitors. The coroner has been notified of four fatalities in which C Difficile may have been a contributory factor.

“The Lourdes is the largest hospital in the North East region covering Counties Cavan, Louth, Meath and Monaghan. It is already greatly overstretched, not least because of the removal of acute services from Monaghan General Hospital last July, resulting in greater pressure on the Lourdes and on Cavan General Hospital.

“This situation is set to worsen with the planned removal of acute services from the Louth County Hospital at Dundalk at the end of the year. Overall, the Government and HSE policy of centralisation of hospital services, as well as current and further proposed cutbacks affecting staff and other resources, will make the battle against hospital-based infections much more difficult.

“In the Dáil last week Health Minister Mary Harney admitted the inadequacy of the hospital system to address C Difficile, MRSA and other hospital-based infections because of the lack of single rooms in which to isolate patients. This need was raised many times with the Minister and her predecessor, including by myself, but no effective action was taken when the resources were there. Now they plead lack of resources.

“It is long past time that this Minister and this Government stopped playing Russian roulette with citizens lives. I call on Brian Cowen, Mary Harney and company to restore our hospital services across the North East, to restore patient safety to its deserved importance, to abandon their co-location and privatisation agendas and, by these actions, help restore public confidence in our public health system.” ENDS

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