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Government Health Strategy is a shambles - Ó Caoláin

24 March, 2005

Commenting on the decision of the Irish Medical Organisation to boycott the GP-only medical cards, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin said it showed that the Government's Health Strategy was now a shambles.

He stated:

"The Government's Health Strategy is now a complete shambles. While not condoning the action of the IMO in this matter, it shows gross political incompetence on the part of this Government that they should have brought in this scheme and now cannot deliver it. The 200,000 people who need and deserve this service as promised from April this year are now to be denied it.

"Since this Fianna Fáil/PD Coalition took office in 2002 there some 65,000 fewer people with medical cards. Well over 100,000 fewer people have cards now than in 1997 when the Ahern/Harney Coalition was formed.

"Plans for the development of primary care have been shelved. The renegotiation of the consultants' contract to ensure greater equity for public patients in our hospitals is more than two years overdue. And now we find that the Government has failed to lay the groundwork for the new GP-only medical cards and they are facing a boycott by doctors." ENDS

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