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Restoration of Medical On-Call at Monaghan General Hospital Important but not sufficient - Ó Caoláin

6 January, 2005

In a reaction to the restoration from noon today, Thursday 6th January, of Medical On-Call status at Monaghan General Hospital, Sinn Féin Dáil Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin described the development as "an important but insufficient step to address and assuage the needs and real fears of the people of Co. Monaghan regarding acute services at Monaghan General Hospital."

The Sinn Féin Dáil Leader and Health Spokesperson pointed to three critical deficiencies in the Health Services Executive decision.

"There remains a complete blockade against all accident related cases being brought to Monaghan by ambulance despite the fact that we have an excellent consultant surgeon and support locums in situ. Only selective elective surgery can be carried out at Monaghan. In my view this is a disgrace and a failure on the part of the bureaucrats in the HSE and other influences to appreciate and utilise to the full the skills and dedication of the three consultant surgeons at Monaghan General Hospital.

"Futhermore only adult medical cases will now be brought to Monaghan General by ambulance. Only my wife and I and our older children can now access Monaghan in a Medical emergency by ambulance. For our younger children there remains a ban on accessing their local hospital and nearest facility, forcing all our non-adult children to face the long journey, and in all conditions, to distant hospital sites. This too is totally unacceptable.

"And finally, an expectant mother in labour remains barred from our hospital which to me is one of the most shameful legacies of the North Eastern Health Board now, at least in name, shelved with the history books.

"Only a complete restoration of all services removed from Monaghan General Hospital and a renewed and demonstrated commitment to the development of these services will meet the needs and address the fears of the people of Co. Monaghan‰ concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin." ENDS

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