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HSE service plan a recipe for disaster – Ó Caoláin

15 January, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

The Health Service Executive’s plan to close a further 1,100 acute hospital beds and to reduce hospital admissions by some tens of thousands has been described as “a recipe for disaster” by Sinn Féin Health and Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD. He said:

“The draft service plan for 2010 from the Health Service Executive is now on the desk of Health Minister Mary Harney. It is a recipe for disaster which would take a further 1,100 acute hospital beds out of our already hard-pressed public hospital system. The proposal to reduce hospital admissions by some tens of thousands is equally alarming.

“The message from the HSE to patients is to save the Government money by not getting ill. And if they do get ill they will face even longer waits for hospital care, more overcrowding and more distress.

“This HSE plan is based on the myth that these 1,100 beds are not required and that the patients who would use them can all be catered for as hospital out-patients or through primary care services. The reality is that there is already a shortage of acute hospital beds and the promised network of primary care services and centres have not been rolled out, eight years after they were promised in 2001.

“As the country recovers from the worst winter weather in decades, during which our hospitals were overflowing with injured patients, the HSE and the Fianna Fáil/Green Government are preparing to inflict on patients further reductions in essential hospital services. And they are inflicting on hard-working front-line healthcare workers further reductions in staff numbers and pay cuts.

“This disastrous HSE plan must be rejected by Minister Harney.” ENDS

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