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Public money for hospitals goes unspent while MRSA spreads – Ó Caoláin

19 June, 2007

Sinn Féin Dáil spokesperson on Health & Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called for more accountability from the Health Minister and more control for the Oireachtas regarding health spending after it was revealed that the HSE failed to spend nearly a fifth of its capital budget last year.

The Sinn Féin Dáil leader stated:

"It is almost beyond belief that the HSE could fail to spend €97.7 million in 2006 while we have a hospital system in perpetual crisis due to shortage of beds and overcrowding. Public money for hospital developments has gone unspent while MRSA spreads in our hospitals because we do not have enough single rooms and isolation units to combat this and other serious infections. This money should have been used to provide those units.

"Only last week a report from the Irish Association of Emergency Medicine exposed the shocking state of many emergency departments in Irish hospitals due to overcrowding.

"The under-spend of almost a fifth of the HSE's capital budget for 2006 can only be described as mismanagement on a monumental scale. The highly centralised bureaucracy of the HSE has proven itself incapable of meeting the needs of health service users. It has met the needs of the Minister for Health & Children Mary Harney who has used it to shield herself from proper accountability for the state of our health services.

"There is now an urgent need to restore proper accountability to the Dáil by the Minister for Health & Children. We also need to return more control over the strategic use of public money for the health services to the democratically elected Dáil." ENDS

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