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Cutting of services at Monaghan led to this tragedy - Ó Caoláin

15 October, 2005

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin has called for a full inquiry following the death of a 70-year old man from a bleeding ulcer in Monaghan General Hospital. He said the inquiry should cover "not only the immediate circumstances of this tragedy but the disastrous policies which led directly to it". He also called for the Hospital to be allowed to go back 'on call' to deal with such emergencies. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"Because of the termination of A&E and surgical services in Monaghan General Hospital this emergency could not be dealt with in the hospital itself. When staff sought a bed in Drogheda, Cavan and Dublin none could be found. Yet there is a state-of-the-art theatre in Monaghan and highly qualified surgical and support staff who are not being utilised because of the official embargo on these services at the hospital. This is an appalling situation which has now led to another tragedy.

"The death of this man is an indictment of disastrous Government policies which are centralising hospital services in a few major locations. Together with the continuing bed shortage in our hospitals this is having fatal consequences.

"Only yesterday, Friday, the Taoiseach met the Community Alliance which has been working for the retention and development of services at Monaghan. The elderly patient died on the same day.

"This death follows the recent call from surgeons in Cavan and Monaghan for the Health Service Executive to provide the resources so that Monaghan General Hospital could go back on call. Both the HSE and the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children failed to act. The commitments given to Monaghan General Hospital a year ago by outgoing Health Minister Micheál Martin and by his successor Mary Harney have proven worthless.

"I am calling for an immediate inquiry which should examine not only the circumstances of this tragedy but the disastrous policies which have led directly to it. The Minister and the HSE should act immediately to allow Monaghan General Hospital to provide the life-saving services the community needs so desperately.

"I extend my deepest sympathy to the family of the deceased." ENDS

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