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Report shows FF/Green Govt. has failed abysmally to address A&E crisis - Ó Caoláin

12 February, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD


Commenting on the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on hospital emergency departments, Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

“This report confirms that the Fianna Fáil/Green Government has failed abysmally to address the crisis in our hospital A&E Departments, a crisis Health Minister Harney once described as a national emergency. The C&AG has set out clearly how the system is not working for patients with nearly half of patients in emergency departments waiting 12 hours or more for treatment. And we know that this has disproved further with a record 500 people on trolleys and chairs in A&E departments on one day in January 2010.

“It is highly significant that the report finds a major deficit in the on-site availability of senior clinical decision makers and prompt access to other specialist consultants. Twenty-three of the thirty-three departments surveyed had delays in accessing senior decision makers.

“The report points out that the recently negotiated contract with consultants which provides for increased working hours should improve the situation. But it finds, quite damningly, that the HSE has not yet put procedures in place to confirm that the service gain envisaged under the new arrangements is achieved. As a result access to consultants was rated as unsatisfactory in most cases. The fact that the new consultants' contract is not being implemented in many cases is confirmed in figures from the HSE which show that 17 consultants in the HSE West region are dealing predominantly with private patients in breach of their contracts which sets a limit of 20% private patients.

“The C&AG Report also finds that the HSE is not meeting the aims of its so-called hospital reconfiguration which has seen the slashing of services in local hospitals. It finds that 'considerable work remains to be done' to align current service provision with the objectives of the desired reconfiguration. In other words patients are being let down again.

“The facts exposed in this report constitute one of the principal reasons why this Fianna Fáil/Green Government should resign.” ENDS

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