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Government trying to massage waiting list figures

4 May, 2004

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has accused the Minister for Health and Children Mícheál Martin of massaging hospital waiting list figures in order to mask the Government‚s failure to fulfil its promise to end waiting lists within two years.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"|The Minister for Health and Children is engaging in a statistical exercise which cannot hide the failure of this government to fulfil the promise it knew it could not keep. While there has been some improvement in waiting times, the fact remains that there are over 27,000 people on hospital waiting lists. The figures published today do not take account of the number of people waiting for appointments with hospital consultants ˆ in other words people on waiting lists to get onto the waiting lists.

"The National Treatment Purchase Fund today confirmed that it is paying for public patients to be treated in private hospitals in England. Irish taxpayers money is helping to fund the private health business in England and in Ireland while public facilities costing €400 million lie idle in this state. This Government's health policy is a shambles and no amount of massaging figures can disguise that reality."ENDS

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