[Sinn Fein]

14th January 2003

SF Councillors call for Mater Private to be opened up to alleviate public backlog

Sinn Fein Councillors Christy Burke and Nicky Kehoe have called on the Minister for Health Micheal Martin to open up the Mater Private to public patients to help alleviate the immediate backlog of people awaiting treatment.

They also called for long term patients in the Mater Public to be facilitated in respite care where appropriate, as a stop gap measure, to free up beds to shorten the disgraceful waiting lists.

Councillor Burke said:

``The situation at the Mater Hospital last night, where three of the city's eleven ambulances were in the yard treating patients, was unbelieveable. This is just another example of the third-world nature of the Irish public health service. A service that continually fails the needs of the Irish public.

Councillor Kehoe added:

``Sinn Fein is calling on the Minister for Health to open up the private clinic in the Mater to public patients as an emergency measure to help alleviate the spiraling crisis in the Mater Public.

``We are also calling for long-term patients in the Mater Public, where appropriate,  to be facilitated in respite care, as a stop gap measure, to free up much needed beds to shorten the disgraceful waiting lists.

``These proposals must be seen as an emergency response to an out of control situation and not as a long term solution. The public health service needs a complete overhaul.''

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