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Health Bill is the wrong remedy for the wrong illness - Ó Caoláin

19 November, 2004

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin has described the Health Bill as "the wrong remedy for the wrong illness". He said it removed democratic accountability and concentrated energy on bureaucratic change rather than on delivery for patients and real reform.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"Before this Bill to establish the Health Services Executive is even debated in the Oireachtas, the process of handover to the new body is in chaos. The chairperson has declined to take up his position and IMPACT, representing 25,000 workers in the health services, has decided not to co-operate with the new Executive.

"The Bill itself and the new structures they establish are totally inadequate. All members of the new all-powerful Health Services Executive will be ministerial appointees. There will be no democratic accountability. Even the limited democratic accountability that existed when elected representatives were on regional Health Boards is gone.

"This legislation is the wrong remedy for the wrong illness. For the next year at least energy will be concentrated on this massive bureaucratic change instead of real delivery for patients and real reform of the health services. Any so-called reform that does not challenge the grossly unfair two-tier public-private system will only maintain inequity and inefficiency.

"We were told there would be statutory provision for health complaints in this Bill but instead it is left to the Health Services Executive to establish these procedures. There will be no independent complaints system and there are all kinds of limitations on the type of complaints that can be made. This Bill is a mess and should be withdrawn." ENDS

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