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Dermatology disgrace in North East region - Ó Caoláin

23 July, 2007

"An absolute disgrace" is how Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has described the situation for people requiring dermatological treatment in the North East region (Cos. Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath). All GPs in the region have been informed that from August 1st no new referrals will be accepted for the Dermatology Department in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda where there is a two-and-a-half-year waiting list. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"All GPs in the North East region have been informed that the Dermatology Department in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda has not been adequately resourced and now has a waiting list of two and a half years. A second Consultant Dermatologist was appointed only last October but already the massive waiting list has forced the Department to close its doors to all new referrals from GPs.

"This is an absolute disgrace. People requiring dermatological treatment in this region are being discriminated against and denied their entitlement to essential healthcare. The new appointee at the Dermatology Department at Drogheda was supposed to have a particular focus on dermatology for children and teenagers but that is obviously now gone by the board. This is hugely worrying as adolescents in particular find dermatological problems especially troubling, often leading to depression with all its associated dangers.

"In their letter to GPs the dermatologists in Drogheda say that resources have not been allocated despite 'continual and recurrent meetings and correspondence' with the HSE. This is a further indictment of the management of our public health services at Government and HSE level.

"At one stage a commitment was given that regional dermatology services would be based at Monaghan General Hospital. Far from that commitment being fulfilled we now have a situation where the existing regional services at Drogheda are unable to cope and people are being denied treatment.

"The resources should immediately be allocated to allow the Dermatology Department at Drogheda to clear its backlog. And the Government and HSE should fulfil their commitment to develop a fully resourced Dermatology Department at Monaghan General Hospital to ease the burden on Drogheda and with either a Cavan-Monaghan brief or one that will focus on the needs of a specific group e.g Paediatric Dermatology services for the North East. This important specialty should be shared across the region." CRÍOCH

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