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Ó Caoláin slams HSE Mickey Mouse incentive scheme

24 August, 2007

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Health Caoimghín Ó Caoláin has today slammed HSE chief Prof. Brendan Drumm’s hospital consultant ‘rewarding success’ programme, calling it a “Mickey Mouse incentive scheme”.

Mr Ó Caoláin said:

“Prof. Drumm’s ‘rewarding success’ scheme to hospitals that have reduced A&E waiting times is wholly inappropriate and does not acknowledge the operational realities faced by hospitals throughout the country.

“For example Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda and Cavan General Hospital have not met the HSE’s A&E waiting time targets, but in reality how could when having to take in additional patients from hospitals in the northeast without being provided with extra staff or beds.

“It is also worth noting that that no new A&E consultant posts have been approved for the last 3 years, this is a shocking fact albeit not surprising as it is keeping with this government’s refusal through successive Dáil terms to increase the number of public beds in public hospitals.

“The lack of long-stay beds to which patients can be discharged is also a huge factor in the A&E crisis. In Sinn Féin’s election manifesto we made a commitment to plan for enhanced provision of essential public nursing home beds, community care facilities and home care for the very purpose of taking pressure off A&E departments.

“We also highlighted the over-centralisation of hospital facilities and pledged to reverse cutbacks in services at local hospitals whilst instituting a national plan for the provision and resourcing of hospital care.

“We made this pledge because we believe, unlike the present government, that an equitable, efficient and economically viable public healthcare service can only be delivered through a Universal Healthcare programme, not Mickey Mouse incentive schemes.

“When the HSE first mooted this reward scheme last year I warned that the proposal would primarily penalise hospitals already experiencing severe difficulties with A&E waiting times due to additional demands being made of them with no extra resources provided.

“My prediction has sadly come to pass as evidenced by Cavan and Monaghan hospitals not being provided with additional consultants due to under investment by government in the public health service.” CRÍOCH

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