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The ‘next steps’ are healthcare cuts – Ó Caoláin

5 September, 2007

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has described as "scandalous" the decision of the Health Service Executive to impose a ban on recruitment of staff for hospitals and other healthcare facilities. He said the HSE and the FF/Green/PD Government were "responsible for failed policy and gross mismanagement" leading to poorer care for patients.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "It is scandalous that the HSE is imposing a ban on recruitment of staff for hospitals and other healthcare facilities in a cost-cutting exercise. This comes on top of ongoing backlogs and delays in the appointments of front-line staff in our health services. There is already a shortage of health professionals across a range of services and now further hardship is to be imposed on patients as hospital waiting lists will inevitably lengthen as a result of this decision.

"During the General Election Fianna Fáil urged people to support them to take 'the next steps'. It seems the 'next steps' are now healthcare cuts in the public system while the Government carries on with its disgraceful plan to reward the private for-profit health system with public land and tax breaks.

"The HSE cites the alleged overspend of €140 million by hospitals to justify these cuts. But last July the HSE announced its final abandonment of the failed PPARS computer system which up to 2005 had cost €130 million. The Government and the HSE are jointly responsible for failed policy and gross mismanagement leading to poorer care for patients.

"Those parts of the health service that are already disadvantaged will be worst hit by this recruitment freeze. The HSE recently announced 60 new consultancy posts for hospitals throughout the State but not a single one of them was allocated to the North East region comprising Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath. The latest HSE announcement compounds this gross injustice." ENDS

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