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Growing concern that health cutbacks are putting patient lives at risk

4 July, 2006

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described reports that the HSE is to cut health spending in the midlands by up to 10% as appalling. This follows reports last months that the HSE northeast is to cut spending by €10 million. Deputy Ó Caoláin said that such cutbacks would compromise patient safety and were totally unacceptable.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "Today's leaked memo from the HSE setting out a seven point plan to reduce spending at hospitals in Westmeath, Offaly and Laois will cause huge concern across the midlands. Such cutbacks would have serious implications for patient safety and would increase waiting lists for elective procedures across the region. Attempts to explain this away as a seasonal reduction in service will fall on deaf ears as it is obviously part of an overall strategy to remove essential services from acute hospitals right across the state. Such cuts are totally unacceptable in a health service that is already stretched to the limits.

"In the last four weeks we also had reports that the HSE Northeast is to cut spending by €10 million and that there will be a further loss of services at hospitals in Monaghan, Cavan, Navan and Dundalk. This drip feeding of announcements is seriously undermining public confidence and will increase the real fear already so much in evidence in local communities.

"The people of Cavan and Monaghan know only too well what happens when essential services are withdrawn and patient lives are put at risk.

"What is required is the proper resourcing of the HSE not the imposition of cutbacks that are compromising patient safety." ENDS

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