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Minister must reject plan to slash services at Monaghan General Hospital - Ó Caoláin

22 November, 2005

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD has called on the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney TD to reject the recommendations of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and the National Hospitals Office which will lead to the further slashing of services at Monaghan General Hospital. Instead the Minister should provide the resources to allow Monaghan to go back fully on-call and to restore A&E services.

The Cavan-Monaghan Deputy said: "These recommendations are an attempt to set in stone the scandalous situation that led directly to the death of Patrick Walsh because he could not be operated on in Monaghan General Hospital. The proposals will result in the removal of Monaghan-based surgical staff, including consultant surgeons, and will make Monaghan a satellite day-clinic of Cavan General Hospital.

"This is a disaster for both hospitals. It removes yet more services from Monaghan and it puts yet more pressure on Cavan where patients on trolleys in A&E are now a constant feature of the hospital.

"I understand that there was no consultation whatsoever by either the RCSI or the National Hospitals Office with those working at the coalface of care delivery in Monaghan General Hospital about this proposed configuration.

"The Royal College of Surgeons and the National Hospitals Office have completely ignored the call issued by the consultant surgeons in Cavan and Monaghan General Hospitals in September when they urged the HSE to make resources available to allow Monaghan to go back to full on-call status. For this reason I am urging the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney TD to reject these proposals and instead to provide the resources so that services can be restored as demanded by the consultant surgeons in September. I have this afternoon spoken to both the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach and raised this demand which was reiterated only last week at a very large public meeting in Monaghan town.

"The proposals announced today and due to come into effect on 1 January 2006 are a further blow to the healthcare needs of the people of Counties Cavan and Monaghan. They must and will be opposed." ENDS

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