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Government should go ahead with public-only consultants - Ó Caoláin

16 January, 2006


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called on the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney to proceed with public-only contracts for hospital consultants. He said people should not be taken in by the "bluff on the part of both the Tánaiste and the consultants as talks on a new contract continue". He stated:

"The Government's Health Strategy of 2001 promised a new contract for hospital consultants to ensure equity for public patients in our hospitals. The consultants refused to enter talks during that time and the Government also dragged its feet. Meanwhile the totally inequitable system whereby consultants can work in both the public and private system with little accountability for their work for public patients has continued. This is central to our grossly unfair two-tier health system.

"The Government should proceed with establishing public-only working for consultants in the public hospital system. If the Tánaiste believes that this would be a fairer way forward - as it is - then she is obliged to take this route. But people should not be taken in by the bluff on the part of both the Tánaiste and the consultants as talks on a new contract continue.

"We need a new health system that ends the apartheid in our hospital services and provides care on the basis of need alone. All the Tánaiste's words about equity are meaningless unless she dismantles the two-tier system." ENDS

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