[Sinn Fein]

31st July 2002

Minister must intervene to restores services and ensure future of Monaghan Hospital

Speaking at the march in Dublin to save Monaghan Hospital Sinn Fein Dáil leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghín O Caoláin TD called for the direct intervention of the Minister for Health and Children Mícheál Martin TD. The Cavan/Monaghan TD said:

``The Minister for Health and Children must intervene now to restore all services and to save Monaghan General Hospital. That is the message we are bringing to his Department today. The Minister promised to intervene in a `doomsday' situation and to ensure that the hospital remained open. He has failed to act while service after service is removed from our hospital. It is being reduced to the status of a glorified health centre.

``I believe it is no coincidence that the latest crisis at Monaghan General comes in the aftermath of a general election and with the Dáil in recess. The Minister chose this time to increase the cost of medicines, to increase VHI charges and to postpone the appointment of 800 staff to the health services. These are health cuts by stealth and the further downgrading of Monaghan Hospital fits into the same pattern.

``I am reiterating my call for an inquiry into the management of Monaghan General Hospital by the North Eastern Health Board. Minister Martin must act now before it is too late.''ENDS

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