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Ó Caoláin challenges Taoiseach on MRSA record

13 December, 2006


Speaking in the Dáil today Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD called on the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to tackle MRSA in hospitals throughout the state. Deputy Ó Caoláin demanded that the Taoiseach "act urgently to ensure that these infections are rooted out hospital by hospital and ward by ward as they have managed to do in other countries."

He said, "Christmas time is a time of year when many older people face the worry and distress of illness and hospitalisation. The Taoiseach must be aware that such distress has been greatly increased in recent times because of the real fear of acquiring hospital-based infections such as MRSA. This state has one of the worst rates of such infection in Europe.

"I make no apology for raising this issue with the Taoiseach again as I did a month ago. Since then the Cork City Coroner has followed the lead of his Dublin counterpart and required that all deaths attributable to MRSA be reported to him. This came after a landmark inquest finding that a 74-year-old man died as a result of MRSA infection contracted in Cork University Hospital. The government must now take action to require mandatory reporting to coroners in all areas of the country. Why is there what the group MRSA and Families calls 'a wall of silence' about the true extent of this infection? Taoiseach, you must tackle overcrowding in our larger hospitals which is leading directly to MRSA infection.

"MRSA and other hospital infections have been effectively combated in the Netherlands. When I cited that to the Taoiseach on the last occasion he said he did not want to go into the reasons. Well, he knows one of the reasons is they have more single rooms in their hospitals where people can be isolated. They do not have the crowded wards we have.

"The Government must start treating this issue with the urgency it requires and ensure that these infections are rooted out hospital by hospital and ward by ward as they have managed to do in other countries." ENDS

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