Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Harney is just renaming waiting lists unless more resources provided - Ó Caoláin

9 September, 2005

Commenting  on the announcement by the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and
Children  Mary  Harney  of a patient register to 'replace' waiting lists in
seven  hospitals,  Sinn  Féin health spokesperson Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin said
that  unless  more  resources were provided to significantly reduce waiting
times the Tánaiste was "just renaming the waiting lists". He said:

"For  the  thousands  of  patients waiting months for operations it matters
little whether they are on a waiting list or a patient register. While more
information  for  patients is welcome, the bottom line is the need for more
resources,  more equitable delivery of treatment and more efficient running
of the hospital services.

"This  new system, like the one it replaces, does not take into account the
thousands  of  people waiting to get onto waiting lists. These people often
wait months to get an initial appointment with a hospital consultant.

"Before  the  last  General  Election this Government promised to eliminate
hospital  waiting  lists  by  2004.  That was a sick joke. There is still a
shortage  of  beds,  nurses  and  doctors  in our hospitals. The scandal of
people  on  trolleys  and  chairs  in  A&E departments continues on a daily

"When are the resources going to be put into our public hospitals? Minister
Harney boasts of the National Treatment Purchase Fund and she is planning
to pour public money into private hospitals. But the reality of health
privatisation is that she will not tell the public the cost of operations
for public patients in private hospitals as this information is deemed
'commercially sensitive' - in other words we are being denied information
in order to facilitate the private health business. We cannot compare costs
in the public and private sectors. Today's announcement by the Minister
will fool no-one." ENDS

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