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Health service facing ‘worst ever crisis’ – Adams

15 June, 2011 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD this morning challenged the Taoiseach on the appalling state of the health services.

He warned that due to a lack of funding and a shortage of junior hospital doctors “the health service is probably facing its worst ever crisis. Many Accident and Emergency units are struggling to maintain 24 hour cover and are at risk of closing. Some hospitals and hospital wards are also facing closure and the future of some essential services, including the maternity and infant scheme, are under threat.”

The Sinn Féin leader identified those hospitals at greatest risk as Drogheda, Cavan, Beaumont, Castelbar, Limerick, Letterkenny, the infirmary in Cork, Portiuncula, Tullamore, Roscommon, Portlaoise, Midwestern Regional Hospital in Limerick and Waterford.

Mr. Adams called on the Taoiseach “to take immediate action to assess what the impact on services will be on the 11 July” and he asked the Taoiseach to come back to make a statement to the House on what plans Government are putting in place to rectify this situation.

Speaking after Leaders Questions the Sinn Féin leader said:

“The Taoiseach did not answer my question. I was disappointed by the vagueness of his response and the lack of clarity and leadership that is urgently needed on this issue.

“His effort to dismiss my concerns around the shortage of junior doctors as something that arises each summer is disingenuous. The reality is that this year’s short-fall is significantly greater than ever before and the consequence of that for the Health Service will be profound.

“Our public hospitals are completely dependent on Junior Doctors.

“On July 11, following the changeover in job rotations, the number of vacant junior doctor posts will be 400.

“This will be a substantially worse situation than anything seen before and will have a devastating effect on the provision of services within the healthcare system.

“I have been told that in the Louth and Meath area there are at least 50 junior doctors less than are needed and that curtailment of emergency services and longer waiting lists will result.

“Frontline services including anaesthetics, emergency medicine and trauma paediatrics, are under so much pressure that they may not be able to maintain an emergency service.”

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