Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Harney raises expectations and must now deliver

26 June, 2005

Sinn Féin Councillor David Cullinane has cautiously welcomed comments from Minister for Health Mary Harney regarding the provision of local radiotherapy services. He said the apparent shift in government policy is a tribute to all those who played a part in the radiotherapy campaign over many years. He reminded people that we have had verbal commitments in the past and what was really necessary was decisive action.

Cllr Cullinane said

"I warmly welcome the meeting that took place between the Mayor of Waterford City, the chairperson of the community campaign and the Minister for Health. I congratulate all those who took part in the many protests, demonstrations and meetings held to advance the case for public radiotherapy services for the Southeast region. I also welcome positive comments from Minister Harney that she recognizes the need for equality of access for public patients in any proposed radiotherapy facility.

"The Minister now needs to move beyond rhetoric. She needs to spell out to the people of the Southeast what type of radiotherapy facilities will be provided. She needs to spell out exactly how public patients will be treated in any new facility. She needs to progress the building of a dedicated oncology unit at W.R.H. with sufficient resources and staff. While the proposed building of a private facility on the grounds of the public hospital is a step forward in terms of service delivery there are still question marks about public management and equality of access for public patients. Sinn Fein will continue to make the argument for public radiotherapy and increased resources for our public hospital.

"Finally it was disappointing that the Minister did not comment on the need for a fully staffed and resourced Neurology Unit at W.R.H. There is a pressing need for the appointment of a Senior Neurologist for Waterford Regional Hospital. This is an issue that I have highlighted at council level in the past and I will continue to campaign for such an appointment." ENDS

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