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Business as usual in chaotic health service two days after ‘reshuffle’ – Ó Caoláin

25 March, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD


Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said the need for a new health policy, a new Health Minister and a new Government has been clearly shown just two days after the Cabinet ‘reshuffle’.

He pointed to record numbers of patients on trolleys in key A&E units around the country as well as confirmation from the Tánaiste Mary Coughlan in the Dáil this morning that the Government will proceed with its plan to impose prescription charges on medical card holders.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“Two days after the so-called reshuffle of the Cabinet which left Health Minister Harney and her policies firmly in place it is business as usual in our chaotic health service.

“There is a record number of 51 patients on trolleys and chairs in the A&E unit of Galway University Hospital today. This morning my office was contacted by a man whose elderly father has asbestosis and who last week had to spend two days on a trolley in Galway before he was admitted to an acute hospital bed.

“Of the hospitals outside the Dublin region, Galway, Cork University Hospital and Cavan General Hospital in my own constituency are currently experiencing the highest numbers of patients on trolleys. In the case of Cavan, with 23 on trolleys today, this pressure on an under-resourced hospital has been entirely predictable given the axing of acute hospital services in Monaghan.

“To add to the anxiety and the financial burden on patients, the Tánaiste Mary Coughlan confirmed to me in the Dáil this morning that the Government is to proceed with its plan for legislation to impose prescription charges on medical card patients. This will be an attack on low income families who are more vulnerable to ill heath. It is a further blow following the Social Welfare cuts imposed in Budget 2010.

“The need for a new health policy, a new Health Minister and a new Government has been clearly shown just two days after the sham reshuffle of the Fianna Fáil/Green Government.” ENDS

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