Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has slammed the outgoing government for their failure to tackle hospital waiting times in his constituency that are putting cancer patients at risk. He made his comments as part of statements on Health being heard in the Dáil today.
Deputy Brady said:
“The chaos in our health service is a direct consequence of the bad policies of the Fine Gael and Labour government, and of Fianna Fail before them.
“Wicklow has been served appallingly by successive governments when it comes to the provision of vital health services. What limited health services we did have been eroded by successive Governments.
“Fine Gael and Labour Government closed the 24Hr A&E in St. Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown, that hospital has served my constituents well for many years, and the staff does fantastic work.
“Imposing the 21,000 patients of that A&E on the already overwhelmed St. Vincent’s University Hospital was bound to fail, and indeed it has failed all our citizens. Currently, as we are speaking, there are 21 patients lying on trollies in St. Vincent’s Hospital, 420 across the State.
“15,306 people are on outpatient waiting lists in St Vincent's, while nearly 900 patients have been waiting for treatment for over a year now.
“The true extent of the health crisis Minister doesn’t stop there. Last week St. Vincent’s University Hospital announced that it is to stop accepting new patients with malignant melanomas for four months, because it does not have enough consultants.
“Melanoma is the third most common cancer found in the 15-44 age brackets. In this State, there are more than 700 new cases diagnosed each year, unfortunately there are 100 melanoma-related deaths.
“Early diagnosis is key to treatment. For patients to be turned away from any hospital for four months is totally unacceptable.
“The Minister needs to take responsibility and ensure that the recruitment of a permanent consultant can take place immediately, so patients can get the necessary diagnoses and treatment.
“In Sinn Fein’s alternative budget for 2016, we outlined how an investment of €383 million would begin to make serious inroads into tackling the crisis. This investment would provide 500 additional nurses, 250 midwives, and 250 consultants to help alleviate the strain on the delivery of frontline services.”