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Varadkar reveals inner Tory in calling for ‘holiday ban’ - Louise O'Reilly TD

7 November, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Speaking this evening Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly said that the Taoiseach’s attempts to shift the blame for his and his governments failures in dealing with hospital overcrowding onto the backs of nurses and doctors, is nothing short of disgraceful.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“Very little surprises me when it comes to this Taoiseach, he proposed a 'Thatcherite' strike ban in the run up to the Fine Gael leadership election, he ran a hideous welfare cheats campaign, and he previously compared women travelling to get medically necessary procedures such as abortion to a lads' holiday in Las Vegas.

“However, his attack on nurses and doctors regarding annual leave arrangements in a grubby attempt to shift the blame for hospital overcrowding away from him and his government is nothing short of disgraceful.

“Now today the Taoiseach has doubled down on his remarks and has called for the HSE to implement what can only be described a ‘holiday ban’ for front line workers in the health service.

“Nurses and doctors are not the problem; their leave does not contribute to the problem of patients on trolleys and hospital overcrowding.

“The problem of hospital overcrowding is a political one, and it is one that has been perpetuated by Mr Varadkar and his government.

“Hospital overcrowding is due to capacity problems and the continuing and worsening recruitment and retention crisis, amongst other things.

“Yet, in addressing these issues the Taoiseach and his government have been utterly useless. They have proved time and again that they have no real plan to address these crises and there is a complete lack of leadership.

“This government have completely failed in the area of health and in response to these failures the Taoiseach always tries to shift the blame on to others.

“Some weeks back the Taoiseach launched another attack on health workers, saying - despite more staff - there had been no corresponding increase in activity in the health service.

“Like yesterday’s attack, that was also a blatant falsehood - the Department of Health themselves noted emergency department attendances were up, that surgical day case work was up in excess of 70% over 10 years, outpatient assessments reached 3.3 million annually, and inpatient discharges annually are up 7% over 10 years.

“Furthermore, it is not lost on nurses and doctors that while they were holding the health service together during the Christmas period of 2014-2015, the then Minister for Health, Mr Varadkar was off sunning himself in Florida."

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