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Ó Caoláin calls for abolition of Comhairle na nOspidéal

4 September, 2003

Sinn Féin Dáil Group leader Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called on Health Minister Micheál Martin to abolish Comhairle na nOspidéal without delay and for the role of all 'bodies of influence' who impact on health service provision in this State to be urgently reviewed. He was speaking following reports that Comhairle na nOspidéal are set to propose that midwifery services should not now come to Monaghan Hospital, as had been promised.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"The loss of our maternity services and the further crushing blow that even midwifery will not now come to Monaghan is something that will cause huge anger. The efforts of those, who have championed the hospital and health care needs of the people of this county are being brushed aside by faceless government appointees and the representative voices of health professionals - people who have enormous power over the direction of our health services but who are accountable to nobody.

"It is time that the Minister and this Government accept their responsibilities. They would have us believe that they are neither responsible for what has happened nor required to act in defence of our health care needs. Minister Martin's Macbeth-like washing of his hands of all responsibility is enough to make anyone sick.

"Comhairle na nOspidéal are a quango of self-interests who have no understanding whatsoever of the needs and fears of real people, real communities. Comhairle's proposals also expose the real reason for the delay in moving forward with the recommendations in the initial Kinder report. No one will convince me that those responsible for delaying the proposal to site midwifery units in Monaghan and Dundalk were not aware and awaiting this Comhairle report which well and truly buries any prospect of even a midwifery service coming to Monaghan General Hospital.

"I am infuriated by the gall of these people who expect us to believe that their opinions, which bear such influence on the shape of health care delivery in this State, were reached independently of the legion of other reports and recommendations regarding the future of services at Monaghan General Hospital.

"It is time for the Minister to stand up to these vested interests. I am calling on him to abolish Comhairle na nOspidéal and to immediately review the role of all of those bodies of influence, who are accountable to nobody, but who have such control over our health services." ENDS

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