"Harney's hype fails to hide healthcare crisis" - Ó Caoláin
Commenting on figures showing increasing numbers of operations cancelled in hospitals across the 26 Counties, as well as bed shortages and unfilled staff posts, Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said that “hype” from the Tánaiste and Health Minister Mary Harney cannot hide the ongoing crisis.
The Cavan/Monaghan TD said: “Figures showing nearly 22,000 operations cancelled in hospitals across this State in 2005 come as a severe indictment of Fianna Fáil/PD health policy and of their management of our health services. The cancellations are a direct result of the hospital bed shortage which Minister Harney and her predecessors have presided over. They have ditched the commitment they gave in 2001 to provide an additional 3,000 hospital beds.
“We also learn that while hundreds of essential front-line staff positions are not being filled, senior management in the Health Service Executive have been awarded massive bonuses, supposedly based on ‘performance’. Patients will be rightly incensed that €1.7 million has been paid out in such bonuses since the HSE was established while they continue to experience a system in crisis.
“This comes as SIPTU highlights the failure of the HSE in the North East region to replace 133 medical staff, including nurses, radiographers and physiotherapists. These posts were approved by the National Hospitals Office in July but only a fraction have been advertised. Representatives of healthcare workers are pointing out that the staff shortage poses a real danger to patients throughout the North East region. This is an intolerable situation.
“Mary Harney has tried to use hype and spin to hide the continuing crisis in the health services. Far from ‘turning the corner’ as she so often claims, we are continuing on the ruinous course plotted by the PDs and their Fianna Fáil partners. Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for real change in our health services and real delivery based on equity and efficiency.”