Monday, October 19, 2009

Cutbacks to essential health services as Drumm receives €70,000 bonus

Sligo éirígí activist Gerry Casey has described as "scandalous" revelations that the Health Service Executive (HSE) are to pay out a €70,000 bonus to its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Manorhamilton native Professor Brendan Drumm. Casey said it was an "insult" to the patients and over-worked front line staff in our hospitals and other areas of the health services who have suffered as a result of cutbacks imposed by Professor Drumm and the HSE.

Casey was speaking as the Irish Nurses Organisation (INO) met with management at Sligo General Hospital on thursday (Oct 15) over continuing bed closures and proposed job losses at the facility. The INO have expressed their concerns over the future sustainability of the hospital as a result of current and proposed cutbacks.

Casey said: "It is outrageous that the HSE and their political masters feel that such as bonus is deserved at a time when they are imposing severe cutbacks in essential front line services and staff. Our local hospitals, including Sligo General and Our Lady's in Manorhamilton, are being decimated by these very same people."

He added: "In recent times we have seen vital medical services being downgraded and withdrawn. These include the closure of an orthopaedic ward as well as Sligo's Stroke unit, despite HSE denials, and the removal of our much needed cancer care services to Galway. Nurses and other front line staff are losing their jobs in significant numbers causing huge concern for staffing levels and the impact that this will have on patient safety in our hospitals."

"According to the nursing unions, more than seventy beds have already been removed from Sligo General so far this year. With more staff cuts planned by the HSE, the reality is that the hospital will see a further reduction in the services it provides to the public, including the possibility of further ward closures.”

"What we are witnessing is the health and well-being of people being made to suffer to pay for the incompetence of the HSE and the greed of the politicians, developers and bankers that squandered the wealth of the Celtic Tiger. éirígí insist that not only must Professor Drumm not receive this unjustifiable bonus but that the HSE reverse the cutbacks and actually upgrade the essential services in our hospitals. They must also abandon completely their failed policies of a two–tier system of medical apartheid and privatisation of health care, all of which is based on a failed right wing ideology."

He concluded: "Their system has failed but there is a clear, workable and just alternative to ward closures, lengthy waiting lists, private hospitals on public land and excessive charges. éirígí believe what is now needed more than ever is the building of a first class health service that is truly free and equal, based solely on medical need and not ability to pay. A world class health service for all. The public deserve no less."

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