21 September 2000 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

Martin's empty moves on health

Last week, Fianna Fáil Health minister Mícheál Martin announced his plans to improve the health system. Apart from daily soundbytes, guess what? He is to set up another committee, an advisory group, to talk with health agencies about how to improve the service, and a delegation is to visit India and Pakistan next month in the hope of recruiting anaesthetists.

The shortage of anaesthetists has led to restricting epidural and resuscitation services in some hospitals.

The Eastern Regional Health Authority considers that it needs another 674 acute hospital beds and an extra 550 district hospital beds. Perhaps the advisory group will advise the minister to supply them?

Sinn Féin councillor Seán Crowe points out that in Tallaght Hospital, which was supposed to bring state-of-the art health care to South Dublin Region, there are now 120 beds fewer than existed in the Meath and Adelaide hospitals, which Tallaght replaced.

The South Dublin County Councillor points out that the waiting list in this hospital alone has increased by over 130% in the three years of its existence, and over a third of patients in casualty are on trolleys 12 hours after diagnosis. ``It is a disgraceful situation, when the country is `awash with money' as Taniste Mary Harney reports,'' says Crowe.

He points out that it is not only the 34,000 people who are on the waiting lists for treatment who are forced to suffer unnecessarily. ``We are also talking of the many thousands of elderly people, some disabled, who wait and wait for assessment before they can receive the help they need. We are talking here of just small things, perhaps the provision of a hand rail, or a wheelchair, or home help or assistance.

``It is an appalling judgement on this government that the health situation is actually deteriorating.''

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1