14 August 2008 Edition

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Hospital services slashed to save heat and light bills

Paul Donnelly

Paul Donnelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Donnelly has received shocking new information from a source in Connolly Hospital in Dublin about further savage cutbacks that will affect patients directly.  He has revealed that the Outpatients Department will be closing for two weeks from 22 December and elective surgery has been cancelled for six weeks from 18 August to 30 September.
These cuts have already affected patients, including cancer patients requiring blood tests. Councillor Donnelly’s source in the hospital directly contradicts  claims by the HSE that the cuts are due to holidays. Donnelly told An Phoblacht:
“I have received information in confidence from a source in the hospital that states that the real reason for the closures was to save money on heating and lighting. Staff were redeployed throughout the hospital into wards and the consultants were still paid. One consultant was so angry with the unacceptable effect on her patients that she decided to hold her outpatients clinic in a ward!”
“The cutbacks in the Outpatients Department affect up to 1,000 patients per week. This year alone, up to 4,000 patients will be affected by the closure of the Outpatients Department. With regard to the Day Ward, up to 900 patients will be affected by this drastic cutback in services. These are not just numbers but real people with severe pain and anxieties. The Minister for Health is directly responsible for the pain and anxiety borne out by these patients. She cannot continuously hide behind the HSE.
“ My fear is that this is just the beginning of a process of severe cutbacks in health provision. I believe that this is part of overall Government policy to run down the health service while subsidising the provision of private health care.”

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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