14 August 2008 Edition
Hospital services slashed to save heat and light bills
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.”