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“We are facing one of worst winters in health service” – Ó Caoláin

25 October, 2011 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said that the health services face one of the worst winters ever if further health cuts are imposed by the Fine Gael/Labour Government.

Speaking in a Dáil debate on hospital services, Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“We are facing into what may be one of the worst ever winters in our health services.

“If the Fine Gael/Labour Government does not act in accordance with the commitments it gave to the electorate prior to the General Election, then the situation at hospitals across the State will deteriorate rapidly.

“There are now over 1,900 public beds closed in our hospitals. The Minister for Health James Reilly is in denial about this reality.

“The situation in the North-East is extremely serious. The INMO has pointed out that 842 patients spent time on trolleys in the Emergency Department (ED) at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda in September 2011. That is compared to 331 in September 2010 – an increase of 154 per cent. The INMO states that this situation will deteriorate even further in the coming months as the winter period is traditionally worse in Emergency Departments nationwide.

“Pressure on the Lourdes and on Cavan General Hospital has been greatly increased by the so-called hospital reconfiguration process in the North-East – the removal of services and downgrading of services in other hospitals.

“This downgrading process totally contradicts the Minister’s supposed strategy of giving smaller hospitals and primary care a greater role. The hours of the Minor Injury Unit at Monaghan General Hospital have been cut. The Rapid Response vehicle has been removed from the ambulance service covering County Monaghan and North Louth. Services have been taken away from the Louth County Hospital in Dundalk and from Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan.

“These services must be restored. Nothing less is acceptable.”

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