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Crowe - Crisis in health service is preventable

5 March, 2005

Seán Crowe T.D. speaking to motion 169 in the name of the Ard Comhairle. The health service in this state is in disarray and is plagued by inequalities. I would like to address my points specifically to the ongoing crisis in Accident and Emergency in hospitals across the State. Both the staff, who are work in intolerable conditions and patients attending A & E are suffering unnecessarily as a result of government inaction.

This crisis is preventable.

The government's failure is both an indication of its incompetence and its lack of will to solve the problems. It is a symptom of the failure of the Government to implement its own Health Strategy

In my own constituency I have listened to patients and their families talking of some of experiences in Accident and Emergency in Tallaght Hospital. They have told me of the horror of lying for days on hospital trolleys and the shortage of basic amenities like pillows and water jugs.

The Minister for Health should visit the A & E in Tallaght hospital to see for herself the unacceptable situation which patients, their families and staff are forced to tolerate.

These are conditions reminiscent of a developing country not a state which has had an economic boom for the last ten years. People are rightly infuriated that in this day and age that the state cannot provide the basic resources to protect the sick and elderly within our society.

This situation is by no means unique to Tallaght. Recently the Irish Nurses Organisation highlighted the fact that in one day alone there were 422 patients were on trolleys in hospitals across the state.

Many of the remedies are in the Government's own Health Strategy which it has failed to implement. These include:

  • More acute beds in our hospitals as promised
  • The recruitment of the additional nurses required
  • The roll-out of promised Primary Care centres to help take the pressure off our hospitals
  • The conclusion of the negotiations with hospital consultants for a new contract and exclusive working by new consultants in the public system
  • Restoration of A&E services in local hospitals where they have been cut.

Sinn Féin rejects a the current healthcare system where access to quality health care is increasingly dependent on ability to pay and not on need.

As the motion from the Ard Comhairle states we will continue to campaign for an end to the two-tier health service in this state and its replacement with a truly national, equitable and efficient health services where access to services are on the basis of need alone.

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