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HSE response to Walsh Report is "disastrous" -- Ó Caoláin

7 September, 2006

Sinn Féin Dail leader and Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has described as "disastrous" the response of the Health Service Executive to the Independent Inquiry Report into the death of Pat Joe Walsh at Monaghan General Hospital. The Cavan/Monaghan TD said the HSE's actions were "worsening the situation which led directly to the tragic death of Pat Joe Walsh". He said the suspension of further services at the hospital represents "a death blow to hospital services for the people of County Monaghan".

The Cavan/Monaghan TD said: "The Health Service Executive fails completely to acknowledge that its embargo on acute surgical emergencies being dealt with at Monaghan General Hospital led to Pat Joe Walsh's death. The embargo meant that staff at Monaghan General Hospital were prevented from performing a life-saving operation on Pat Joe Walsh. This was compounded by the failure of Cavan and Drogheda Hospitals, as highlighted in this Report, to accept transfer of Pat Joe Walsh despite his critical condition and despite the availability of beds.

"As we speak Monaghan General Hospital is being turned into a five-day week, limited service medical facility. There is consternation in this town and county that the Health Service Executive, with the full backing of the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney and her Fianna Fáil colleagues in Government, are dealing the final death blow to Monaghan General Hospital.

"It is a grave disservice to the memory of Pat Joe Walsh and to those others who have suffered death and serious illness as a result of the downgrading of our hospital and the cutting of its services, that his death should be used in this way by the HSE. I extend again my continuing sympathy to the Pat Joe Walsh's son and family and to all the Walsh family.

"In conclusion I pledge my outright opposition and that of Sinn Féin to the scorched earth policy of the HSE and this Government with regard to local hospital services and reaffirm my commitment to do all in my power to reverse these disastrous decisions at the earliest opportunity possible."


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