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Health Minister must act to prevent massive hospital crisis – Ó Caoláin

21 June, 2011 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called for immediate and urgent action from Health Minister James Reilly to address the impending massive crisis in our public hospitals due to the shortage of junior doctors from 11 July.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“Health Minister James Reilly’s statement on RTÉ’s Frontline programme that smaller hospitals will struggle and may have to curtail services is totally unacceptable.

“We are facing a real crisis in our A&E departments and public hospitals from 11 July and the Minister offers no programme of action to address it.

“This is not a new problem. It has been known and widely recognised for years that the hospital system is totally over-reliant on junior doctors. Successive Governments have failed to address this and now it is looming again, worse than ever.

“Minister Reilly must act. Recruiting sufficient additional junior doctors will be required in the short term. But that is not enough.

“Nurses need to be freed up to fulfil more responsibilities in our hospital A&E departments as they are qualified and willing to do.

“Hospital consultants must be required to fulfil their contracts to serve the public hospital system, contracts which are being widely breached. More consultants are required in our public hospital system and the current excessive remuneration for consultants needs to be reduced to facilitate the employment of more consultants.

“Minister Reilly must come into the Dáil today and address this crisis.”

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