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Cuts are provoking strikes in the health services – Ó Caoláin

22 July, 2011 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

With industrial action threatened at Cavan General Hospital and at St. Ita’s Hospital, Portrane, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said that the Fine Gael/Labour Government’s health cuts, as well as HSE mismanagement, are provoking strikes in the health services.

He said:

“Nurses at Cavan General Hospital are at the end of their tether with the hospital totally over-stretched. The failure to increase capacity at the hospital following the downgrading of Monaghan General Hospital, together with the recruitment embargo, have resulted in enormous pressure on staff and patients at Cavan's Emergency Department. Patients are spending up to four days on trolleys and chairs, and this at the height of summer when demand is usually lighter than in winter.

“It is no surprise that the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation Executive has authorised the serving of notice of industrial action in Cavan General Hospital. I raised this directly with Health Minister James Reilly and HSE Chief Cathal Magee at the Oireachtas Health & Children Committee on Thursday.

“At St. Ita’s Hospital, Portrane, the Psychiatric Nurses Association has served notice of industrial action on the HSE which is closing the male and female admissions unit at the hospital from 31 August.

“The closure of the 48-bed admissions department at St. Ita’s was confirmed by the Minister for Health James Reilly in a reply to my Dáil Question. The HSE has promised to ensure that alternatives will be available after 31 August but has not set out what these will be.

“This is gross mismanagement by the HSE. Promised upgrading work at St. Ita’s has not been completed, resulting in the Mental Health Commission closure order. This upgrading work was supposed to be a temporary measure, pending the development of the long promised psychiatric unit at Beaumont Hospital. But work on that unit is not due to begin until the end of this year.

“Minister James Reilly must intervene, ensure that the necessary works at St. Ita’s are completed and that the Beaumont development is speeded up. After all, one of the reasons for the long delay of that project was when the site intended for it was earmarked for one of Mary Harney’s ‘co-location’ private hospitals. It was Minister Reilly who quite rightly ended that ill-conceived scheme.

“Fine Gael/Labour Government cuts and HSE mismanagement are provoking strikes in our health services and further industrial action is inevitable if this Government proceeds with its plans for even more severe cuts.” ENDS

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