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“Reilly re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” – Ó Caoláin

29 July, 2011 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said that Health Minister James Reilly’s announcement of changes to the National Treatment Purchase Fund is like “re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” as the public health services sink into deeper crisis because of Government cutbacks.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“Health Minister James Reilly used the platform of the MacGill Summer School and Morning Ireland to pontificate on his so-called reforms which amount to no more than tinkering with the National Treatment Purchase Fund. This is like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic as the public health services sink into deeper crisis because of the €1 billion cuts being imposed by Minister Reilly and his Fine Gael/Labour Coalition colleagues.

“There are 1900 beds closed in hospitals across the State due to cutbacks. Not a single public hospital bed has been reopened by James Reilly since he took over as Minister for Health. And with the impending annual summer closure of facilities in many hospitals there is already evidence of patients being inappropriately discharged.

“Strike notice has been served by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation at Cavan General Hospital due to the intolerably overcrowded and dangerous conditions for both staff and patients in the Emergency Department

“The HSE is about to implement a 37% reduction in the provision of agency/locum staff in Blanchardstown, Cavan and Monaghan hospitals. The use of agency/locum staff has been made necessary by the recruitment embargo. This cut will see significant reductions in services at these hospitals.

“I understand it is proposed to close the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at Monaghan General Hospital at weekends and after 5pm Monday to Friday. The Monaghan MIU will thus go from a seven-day 9am to 9pm service to a Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm service. There is also a question mark over hours for the Advanced Nurse Practitioner at Monaghan.

“This is the reality on the ground while Minister Reilly engages in his flights of fancy.” ENDS

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