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Credit union loans expose abject failure of Government health strategy

30 May, 2005

Commenting on the revelation that credit unions lent their members at least €30 million last year for essential medical treatment, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said it exposed the failure of Government health policy. He stated:

"The extent of borrowing from credit unions to meet the cost of medical treatment is a startling indictment of the abject failure of the government‚s health strategy. People are borrowing these sums in order to pay for vital treatment in the private healthcare system that the public system should have been able to give them promptly.

"Let it not be forgotten that the main Government party, Fianna Fáil, promised to end all hospital waiting lists by the summer of 2004. Now we see the extent of that failure with people getting into debt to pay their medical bills. Despite similar promises on medical cards the actual numbers of people granted medical cards has dropped under this Government.

"The two-tier health system is thriving under this Government with many families facing debt to meet medical costs while the public hospital system limps from crisis to crisis." ENDS

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