9 July 2009 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe

IMPACT oppose centralisation of medical card scheme

HEALTH SERVICE staff at IMPACT’s biennial Health Conference have unanimously backed an emergency motion to oppose HSE attempts to centralise medical card processing, including industrial action if necessary.
National Secretary Kevin Callinan told delegates:
“The HSE is taking a service that is locally based, in 32 offices across the country, and dumping it just off the M50 in Dublin. The new system removes the opportunity for quality input from experts such as GPs, public health nurses and community welfare officers. Personal contact is lost. The citizen that can travel to their local health office will not travel to Dublin, even if that option was available.
“People who are vulnerable or anxious, who may need assistance or guidance on eligibility or how to complete forms, cannot be catered to under this new system.  It is a public service that is best rooted in the local community, where local knowledge and expertise defines it.”


Frontline ambulance services cut

FRONTLINE cover in the North’s Ambulance Service is to be cut by nearly 7,000 hours, hurting areas west of the Bann the most.
Trade unions representing workers in the service say that patient safety could be compromised.
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health in the North, Michelle O’Neill MLA, has expressed her deep concern at the proposed cuts.
“People in rural areas are deeply concerned. Health Minister Michael McGimpsey must listen to the genuine fears and experiences of people who have already been negatively affected as a result of the existing lack of ambulance cover.
“Cuts should not be made to frontline services and it doesn’t get more frontline than ambulance services.”

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