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Primary Care Report indicts Government health record and must be acted on - Ó Caoláin

10 February, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said that the Government must act upon the Report on Primary Medical Care in the Community published today by the Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children.

He said:

“This important and comprehensive Report on Primary Care is an indictment of the Government’s record on healthcare delivery. While the Government talks a good game about primary care it has presided over a totally inadequate primary care infrastructure which it has been far too slow in developing and improving.

“As long ago as 2001 the need for 600 primary care teams across the State was identified in the Government’s own Health Strategy. By the end of 2009 only 112 teams were at an advanced functioning stage. This is a disgraceful record.

“The Report also highlights the shortage of trained GPs and the inordinate delay in bringing forward essential health legislation such as that providing for information for patients and the promised bill to define people’s eligibility for health services. The Report is correct in stating that the present primary care accommodation infrastructure is outdated and inadequate for the provision of modern services.

“I welcome the Report’s comprehensive set of recommendations covering GP training, developing the role of nurses, ensuring skills mix in primary care, expanding pharmacists’ role and prioritising community mental health services.

“The Report recognises that the provision of primary care centres is essential. I welcome the Report’s opposition to the ‘corporatisation’ of the development of the new primary care infrastructure. However, Sinn Féin would not concur with the use of tax breaks for the development of these centres which should be provided directly by the State’s public health system and should be an integral part of that system.” ENDS

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