Health Minister comes under attack over ‘empty promises’ on improvements for Bantry Hospital

May 30th, 2023 11:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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THE Health Minister’s response to the current crisis in the sector is worthy of a ‘brass neck of the year award’, says Deputy Michael Collins.

The Cork South West TD launched a scathing attack on Minister Simon Harris for saying that ‘health outcomes are improving’.

‘Let him come down and say that to the faces of those who have to get up at 3am to travel 36 hours for a 25-minute procedure,’ said Deputy Collins, referring to the cataract buses to Belfast.

‘We know for a fact that more than 12,000 patients were without a bed in 2022 in CUH due to overcrowding. Very many of those patients could have and should have been treated in Bantry General Hospital, but instead they were forced to bypass Bantry and essentially contribute to a bottleneck of patients building up in CUH,’ he said.

He noted that Minister Mary Butler talked about plans for the construction of new elective hospitals in Cork, Dublin and Galway.

‘While this may be positive in the long term, the fact remains that these new elective hospitals are only expected to commence providing care by the end of 2027. In the intervening period, hospitals like Bantry will continue to be under resourced and under-utilised while simultaneously promise after promise to provide endoscopy and stroke services will likely go unrealised.’

Deputy Collins suggested that if there was a ‘block laid for every political promise of improved services’ received to date, there would already be five endoscopy units built in Bantry. ‘We need more than warm words and empty commitments. We need delivery for both our acute and our mental health services that are being hollowed out on a daily basis,’he said.

Things are not ‘improving’ when Bantry General Hospital hasn’t seen ‘sight nor sound’ of the promised endoscopy or stroke units that, while long-promised, have failed to materialise, said the Goleen deputy.

‘A promise is not a form of medical treatment,’ he added, saying the government ‘continues to live in a fantasy land’, while people ‘are forced to live with the painful reality of totally preventable and treatable medical conditions’.

Michael Collins said his offices have been ‘inundated’ with calls from the older generations who cannot bear to stay on the waiting lists any longer.

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