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24 May 2007 Edition

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Reports say HSE to reduce staff by 1,000

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD commenting on reports on Newstalk radio station on Tuesday afternoon that the 26 County Health Services Executive (HSE) plans to remove up to 1,000 staff from the health service across the state said that if such a plan went ahead it would have huge implications for patient care.
The revelation comes just one week after Sinn Féin published an internal HSE report which spelt out in detail, including costings, staff reductions and timeframes, the HSE’s plans to cut acute hospital services in the North East. “There will be deep anger at this HSE report which sets out proposals for new employment ceilings in the health service which would result in the removal of 1,000 staff from the health service in 2007.”
A HSE spokesperson said that their objective was to identify posts which would be eliminated through ‘natural wastage’ and wouldn’t impact on healthcare delivery.
“A loss of frontline staff of this magnitude would have huge implications for patient care. I am calling on the HSE and the Department of Health to immediately clarify the status of this report and implications for healthcare delivery.
“Coming on the back of the debacle on the outgoing government’s ill thought out and costly co-location plan it is clear that the management of health services is in disarray and this needs to be tackled immediately.
“If we are in government after the General Election Sinn Féin will radically change the direction of healthcare policy in both the Department of Health and Children and in the Health Service Executive. Democratic accountability will return to the office of the Minister and services will return to our local hospitals. Ours is a vision of healthcare that truly places the patient first and is geared to meeting the needs of communities”     
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