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Healthcare recruitment cap hampers fight against MRSA – Ó Caoláin

16 January, 2007

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has described as "disgraceful" the revelation that the cap on recruitment to the health services has delayed by several months the appointment of additional staff to help fight MRSA and other anti-biotic resistant infections in our hospitals. Deputy Ó Caoláin was commenting on the revelation contained in a newspaper interview with Dr. Kevin Kelleher, HSE Director of Population Health.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "It has taken far too long for the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney and the HSE to wake up to the extent and seriousness of MRSA infection in our hospitals. The HSE's Director of Population Health now tells us that the recruitment of additional staff to combat MRSA and other anti-biotic resistant infections has been held up for months due to the cap on healthcare recruitment. That is disgraceful.

"It is doubly shameful at a time when the HSE, which has nearly 3000 purely administrative staff, is forking out millions to outside consultancy firms to carry out work that could be done by the HSE itself. This money should be spent on front-line healthcare services, including the fight against MRSA.

"This State has one of the highest rates of MRSA infection in Europe. We still do not have a proper system to collate the numbers of deaths due to MRSA and neither the Minister nor the HSE seem to have the determination to combat it aggressively. In other countries such as the Netherlands they have implemented very effective programmes that have stamped out infection and saved lives. Irish patients deserve nothing less." ENDS

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