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Simon Harris failing to meet needs of patients - Louise O’Reilly TD

20 March, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly has accused Minister Simon Harris of failing to meet the needs of patients after it was revealed today that cancer operations are being cancelled in significant numbers as a result of overcrowded hospitals.

Teachta O’Reilly also cited Minister Harris’ decision to cancel a meeting with Consultant gynaecologists at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) to resolve the problem of lengthy waiting times for women with serious gynaecological problems, and criticism from the Children’s Ombudsman over ‘unacceptable’ delays for scoliosis sufferers.

Speaking today Teachta O’Reilly said;

“As the days and weeks go by it is becoming more clear that Minister Harris is completely out of his depth.  As a result of this patients are suffering unnecessarily.  That is simply unacceptable.

“As a result of the Minister’s failure to tackle hospital overcrowding, hospitals are now cancelling surgery for cancer patients in significant numbers.  This is putting the safety of patients at risk on a daily basis.

“Meanwhile the Minister has cancelled a hugely important meeting with Consultant Gynaecologists at Cork University Maternity Hospital to deal with lengthy waiting times for women with serious gynaecological problems which, according to the consultants, has added to the waiting times.

“And today the Children’s Ombudsman has said that the government’s failure to address the issue of access to scoliosis treatment for children is impacting those children’s right to the highest attainable standard of health.

“On all of these issues the Minister is failing to meet the needs of patients.

“After months of trying to get a meeting with Minister Harris to discuss Sinn Féin’s constructive proposals to deal with hospital waiting list, he has finally agreed to meet with me next week.

“Our ‘Comhliosta’ proposal, which the Minister has responded positively to, is a system that allows patients to transfer across different hospital lists to get on to the shortest possible one.  It is a system which works well in Portugal and we want to replicate it here.

“I will be urging Minister Harris to move speedily on this when I meet him next week and I will also be outlining Sinn Féin’s comprehensive plan to create a World Class National Health Service for Ireland.

“The health crisis has gone on for so long under both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil that many people have become acclimatised to the horrible stories that emerge week in week out from our health services.

“Sinn Féin has the solutions to the health crisis.  It will mean major investment over the coming years and an end to the subsidisation of the private sector. 

"We must prioritise this because we cannot stand over a system that fails cancer patients, women and children, that leaves our sick and elderly on hospital trolleys and over 600,000 patients languishing on waiting lists many in chronic pain.”

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