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Radical changes needed in Government Health policy – Ó Caoláin

7 January, 2014 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has today stated that the Government must make radical changes in health policy or accept that they have miserably failed the people of this State in the provision of a vital service.

Deputy Ó Caoláin was speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin’s campaign for a change of direction in Government health policy.
He said:
“At the start of 2014 Sinn Féin is prioritising our campaign against Health cuts and for a decent Health Service. Our representatives, across the length and breadth of the State, in the coming days and weeks, will be holding public events and protests. They will be seeking meetings with the clinical directors of hospitals to discuss how the €619 million worth of cuts in the 2014 HSE Service Plan will impact on the delivery of crucial services and already creaking treatment waiting lists.
“The health service was already at breaking point before the outrageous cuts inflicted by the HSE Service Plan. The measure of any state is how it treats its most vulnerable and this Government, particularly Health Minister James Reilly, has shown itself to be not only incompetent but reckless when it comes to delivering a health service of any acceptable standard.
“Despite the untiring efforts of health workers our service is not fit for purpose. The cuts introduced by Fianna Fáil, Labour and Fine Gael have devastated frontline care.
“€4 billion has been taken out of our health service since 2008, while the ordinary people continue to pay the enormous debt of bankers and financial speculators.
"Thousands more people face loss of discretionary medical cards in 2014, including seriously ill and disabled children. 
"Accident and emergency services in hospitals across the State are now under threat. 
"Funding for nursing home beds is being cut, with the knock-on pressure this puts on hospital beds.
"Prescription charges have been trebled by a Minister who condemned them when he was in Opposition. 
“All this sends a clear message to the sick, the disabled, the elderly and anybody else who is dependent on the health service. It says to them ‘you are far less important to your Government than investors, speculators and the markets.’ This is a grave injustice and any Government that persists with such a policy is morally bankrupt. 
“With this campaign Sinn Féin is telling the Government that healthcare is a basic right and the health service must not be diminished any further.

“It is beyond the time for radical changes in the government’s health policy. We need a change of direction and we need it now.”

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