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Sinn Féin forces Minister for Health to look into Lucan baby clinic delays

4 October, 2006


Sinn Féin's Dublin Mid West representative Joanne Spain has welcomed Minister for Health Mary Harney's reply to a Dáil question in which she said she would have the Health Service Executive investigate the serious backlog of infant health checks and the number of staff based at the Lucan Health Centre. The question was put forward by Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Health Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin after Ms Spain made him aware of the clinic cancelling vital infant health checks because of staff shortages.

Ms Spain said: "The delay of these infant health checks is causing serious concern for parents throughout Lucan. They are annoyed that just one clinic, with a small number of staff, is being forced to deal with an area the size of a small city.

"The Minister has said she will have the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the HSE look into the situation and this must be welcomed. I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that this happens. The most natural outcome must surely be an increase in staff.

"My next step is to seek a meeting with staff at the clinic to ask in what further way I can be of assistance to help get the health service in this area up to the level the public deserves." ENDS

Dáil question

To ask the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide the necessary resources and press the Health Service Executive to increase the number of public health nurses available at a health centre (in Lucan) in County Dublin to deal with the backlog of infant health checks; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

Reply

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have areply issued directly to the Deputy.

Editors note - Ms Spain revealed in a previous statement that some new mothers in Lucan had been left without home visits from Public Health Nurses, that their children's nine-month health checks had been cancelled and that the one-year check up had been suspended to 18 months, all due to a shortage of staff. The clinic currently serves a catchment area of 30,000.

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