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Are Promises Made To Be Broken?

We wish to make comment on some of the things Dr James referred to during that speech.

1. He said that he was after coming from Monaghan Hospital where he saw a terrific A & E, a state of the art theatre, highly qualified and hard-working staff, and a great facility under-used. He also referred to documents from consultants in St. James’s Hospital praising as ‘excellent’ the results of a medical audit carried out in 2007 in Monaghan. He stated that the outcomes for Monaghan were excellent. With all of this he asked why any of these services should be taken away when the people of Monaghan will not get as good as a replacement. If this is so we ask – why would he not put those services back into Monaghan when he came into power.

2. He asked the people at the protest to let Fianna Fail know that the people of Monaghan would not forget what that party did to Monaghan General Hospital when in power. It is now the turn of the Monaghan people to let Fine Gael know that we will not forget what they did to our hospital, and did not do, when they were in power.

3. He then made a promise to the people of Monaghan and the people of Ireland – that Fine Gael would fight with us for our hospital. We now know that he has reneged on that promise and will not meet with our Councillors or ourselves to discuss the future. However he has been quick to lay off the blame but this time it is the fault of the HSE and not Fianna Fail because he is now using the same language as Mary Harney, Brian Cowen and Michael Martin did when they were Ministers of Health. The very health policy which he condemned in his speech and for which he disparaged Fianna Fail, has been continued by himself since taking office.

4. The 2012 HSE Service Plan has a range of cuts which will seriously effect frontline services in this area and there are further severe cuts coming during 2012 and there are no replacements or alternatives to these but he seems to expect us to accept them as necessary evils and forget that he promised to retire from politics if his Government did this. He may claim that the economy, the Troika, the IMF, the EU, the bondholders, and lets add the Bankers too, have all forced him into this position and that this is all the fault of Fianna Fail’s failed  fiscal policies. Well we say – he was at the heart of Government and should have known what was happening and should have known what was ahead as Brian Lenihan made it very clear long before the General Election. The dogs on the street knew. However in his speech he stated that one of the first things he was going to do was to find the ‘Black Hole’ where the money for health was disappearing. He referred to the numbers of Grade 8 managers rising from 6 to almost 800 in a couple of years and the amount that was costing. Has he found that Black Hole and how many of the 700+ are still earning the wages of Grade 8? Has he looked at other sections of administration where money can be saved, and at other areas of Government where savings can be made - like the massive tax-free pay-outs to TDs and Senators? Patients, the sick, the aged, the young are easier targets.

5. He may say that the reconfiguration of services is necessary for patient safety. If that is the case then why have we experts to claim the opposite. Why did Professor Nicholl, head of the Medical Research Unit in Sheffield University, state in a lecture in the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland last Friday, that research shows that it is wrong for the Government to close the local A & Es except for the very severe and major trauma. He claimed that your chances of survival diminish by 1% every six miles you travel by ambulance to a hospital and that many lives are lost for relatively minor reasons because of the delay in getting to a local hospital – not a big hospital or a teaching hospital or a very high-tech hospital – just your local hospital. Why was the opinion of the Doctor, who resigned from HIQA, ignored as he claimed that there was no research, which proved that centralisation of all acute care was the proper policy. Where is the research which proves that all acute care must be centralised?

6. In his speech Dr. Reilly asked – ‘How many more have to die on the road to Cavan?’. There have been some and more that we cannot prove but we can say that these were not given the best chance of survival. There have also been some whose lives have been saved by Monaghan General Hospital and in some cases the serious outcomes have been averted by the excellent staff in our Minor Injuries Unit. We cannot name them but many families know the benefits they have received due to the services still available in Monaghan but which are now under threat. This threat has been imposed, not by the HSE but by Dr. Reilly’s Government and its policy and implemented by            . He is the Minister, he must accept the responsibility, the buck stops with him, that is what the taxpayer is paying him for and his name will be added to the others, local and national, who have been responsible for taking our excellent services away.

That is the question asked as the heading of this clip on Youtube, which features part of a speech delivered by the now Minister for Health, when he attended a Protest March organised by the Community Alliance on May 6th 2008. There is certainly a message there for all would be politicians – don’t promise something unless you are 110% sure that you can deliver but there is another message which they should know - if you make promises, you are expected to keep them, as otherwise people do not trust you or have any confidence in you or your party. James - start thinking about the people of Monaghan because we are still fighting for our services.