19 July 2007 Edition

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'Closure of A&Es must be resisted' - Ó Caoláin

Commenting on reports that the Health Service Executive is to close A&E units at three more hospitals, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called for a “united national campaign” against these service cuts. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“News that the HSE plans to close A&E units at three further hospitals – Ennis General Hospital, Nenagh General Hospital and St. John’s Hospital, Limerick – is a further appalling development for local hospital services. As in the case of the proposed devastating cuts to hospitals in the North East region, the HSE’s plan is based on a report from British-based consultants Teamwork.
“I believe it is no coincidence that this news comes in the wake of the General Election and after the Dáil has gone into recess. Campaigners for Monaghan General Hospital have repeatedly predicted that the fate of their hospital would be used as a blueprint for cuts to other local hospitals throughout the State. This is now happening. It is ironic that Nenagh Hospital in particular should suffer this cut as it has been a model of how local hospitals can provide excellent care in conjunction with local GPs and other primary care services.
“Minister Harney and the HSE are preparing to axe A&E units, depriving people of life-saving services and putting further enormous pressure on centralised A&E facilities such as those at Cavan General Hospital, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda and now the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick.
“These closures must be resisted and I am calling now for a united national campaign against the service cuts. Communities across the country are determined to defend their local hospital services and this energy should be harnessed on a national basis.”

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