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Harney is driving the health services into the ground ­ Ó Caoláin

16 April, 2007

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said the Fianna Fail/PD government is running the health services into the ground Speaking today Deputy Ó Caoláin attacked Minister Harney's record as Health Minister.

He said, "As Health Minister Mary Harney has presided over and endorsed the unequal two-tier health system. She has attempted to provide land at public hospitals to the developers of private for profit hospitals. She has ignored calls from across the political spectrum and from throughout the health services not to proceed with the plan. Instead she has bungled on, determined to sign contracts with developers of private for-profit hospitals. She has wasted time, energy and public money on this scheme for which she has no mandate.

"The Minister's failure to intervene directly in the nurses' dispute has led to industrial action from the nurses with stoppages at twelve hospitals to take place over the next two days. Harney should have intervened immediately and granted our nurses their just demands for a thirty-five hour week and fair pay. Our nurses work on the frontline of our health services under extreme pressure because of the gross inadequacy of a health system that successive Governments have failed to reform.

"The negotiations for a new hospital consultants contract to ensure equity for public patients are in deep trouble. This contract was supposed to be delivered in 2002. Public patients continue to lose under the current system which favours the lucrative private practice of a minority of consultants.

"This government's record on our health services has been disastrous. It is long past time that the General Election was called so that the people can give their verdict." ENDS

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