Adams raises Sarcoma Cancer Care in the Dáil

DSC_3254_6510Louth TD Gerry Adams today raised the issue of care for patients diagnosed with Sarcoma following representations from constituents in Louth.

Teachta Adams was informed that the contract of Consultant Medical Oncologist, Dr Alexia Bertuzzi, who currently cares for over 300 sarcoma patients at St Vincent’s University Hospital, is due to expire on 30th June.

The Sinn Féin President raised the matter with the Tánaiste saying;

“The Programme for Government states that your Government ‘will ensure appropriate care pathways are in place to improve cancer services’.

“Yet I have been contacted by numerous citizens suffering from a form of cancer called Sarcoma who inform me that the locum contract of their Consultant Medical Oncologist at St Vincent’s Hospital will expire at the end of the week.

“These patients are aware that their Oncologist is being replaced but they fear that the required expertise in Sarcoma will be lost and that consequently their medical outcomes will suffer.

“Tanaiste, can you reassure them that this expert in Sarcoma care will be retained at St Vincent’s?”

In her response the Tánaiste said that the HSE has expressed its confidence that the treatment of sarcoma will not be compromised

Following the exchange, Teachta Adams said;

“Unfortunately the Tánaiste said nothing to allay my concerns and I have subsequently written to the Health Minister urging him to retain this expertise and reassure sarcoma patients that they will continue to have the optimum care for their condition. “

 

Maíre Drumm Cumann Inaugural Meeting Tonight

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Maíre Drumm

Chair Stan Corrigan & Family (File Pic)

Chair Stan Corrigan & Family (File Pic)

 

 

The inaugural meeting of the new Maíre Drumm Sinn Féin Cumann took place this evening in Dundalk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The newly elected Chair is Stan Corrigan, father of Cllr Edel Corrigan who is a highly respected republican, not just in the Faughart area where the Cumann is based but also throughout the county.

 

 

 

Vice –Chair is Pat Harrisson and secretary is Alan McArdle, both from Faughart in North Louth.

 

Also present was Maíre Drumm’s eldest son Séamus who spoke after the meeting and said “I am honoured to have the Cumann named after my mother. After listening to those present tonight, I am positive that the activists will work for the community as my mother did, she was always helping others, was a strong voice for the disenfranchised and a great inspiration to those around her and I am proud to hear she is still inspiring others even forty years after she died.”

 

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The late Maíre Drumm hailed from Killean, South Armagh and was vice president of Sinn Féin from 1972 – 1976. Maíre was active in the Civil Rights Association in the 1960s and worked to rehouse Catholics who were forced from their homes by loyalist intimidation. She always led from the front. After being jailed twice for seditious speeches, Maíre became a target for pro-British elements and on 28th October 1976 as she lay in her hospital bed in the Mater Hospital in Belfast, loyalists assassinated her.

 

 

Speaking after the meeting Vice Chair Pat Harrisson said “there has always been a strong community in Faughart and a republican spirit. In this centenary year of 1916 and also the 40th year since the death of Maíre Drumm, we have proved that we are a party that delivers locally and nationally. We have ten county councillors and our party president Gerry Adams is TD. This year also saw Louth elect the very first female TD for the county, Imelda Munster”

Some of the members of the new Cumann with Seamus Drumm (far left)

Some of the members of the new Cumann with Seamus Drumm (far left)

“We are an activist party who is dedicated to achieving a society free from prejudice and discrimination and would like to invite you to join us and play your part in the community”.

If you want to make a lasting and worthwhile contribution to building a better Ireland for all then please contact the Cumann for further details at:

MaireDrummCumann@gmail.com

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Louth Children admitted to adult mental health Centres – Gerry Adams TD

Gerry Adams SmilingSinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams TD has described the admission of children to adult only in-patient mental health approved centres as a “scandal that must be urgently addressed.”

The Louth TD said: “The Mental Health Commission report published this week has revealed that 95 children were admitted in 2015 to adult approved centres in direct contravention of the Code of Practice”.

20 of these children were from the Community Healthcare Area (CHO 8) which covers county Louth, Laois, Offaly, Longford Westmeath and Meath.”

Gerry Adams said:

“Under current mental health policy children up to the age of 18 who require in-patient mental health services should only be admitted to dedicated child and adolescent in-patient units.

Last year that instruction was breached 95 times and 20 children from the region that includes Louth were among them.

The report also reveals that the Community Healthcare Area with the highest numbers of admissions was CHO 8 which includes county Louth.

The Commission states that the admitting team attempted unsuccessfully to source an inpatient bed in the approved dedicated child and adolescent centres for all of the children. However, it has emerged that on all dates that children were admitted to adult centres there were bed vacancies. It notes that it is ‘unclear why these vacant beds were not made available.’

It suggests that this may be down to beds being needed outside of office hours or the lack of available emergency cover. None of these excuses are acceptable.

The Commission’s report illustrates how much remains to be done, including the need for independent monitoring of the State’s mental health strategy ‘Vision for Change’. There are also huge issues surrounding funding, or the lack of it. The current level of funding for mental health is still less than the 8.24% target, based on 2005 figures, envisaged in ‘A Vision for Change’.

I have written to the Minister for Health seeking explanations about the admission of children to adults units. The government also has a responsibility to provide adequate funding and administrative and organisational resources to mental health services.”

Adams concern at variation in immunisation and mortality rates affecting OLOL

Gerry Adams SmilingLouth TD Gerry Adams has expressed his “serious concern at the findings of the Second Annual Report of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System which reveals some disturbing information about immunisation levels in Louth and mortality and surgery rates in Our Lady of Lourdes”.

Teachta Adams said: “There is an onus on the HSE and the Minister for Health to investigate the variations in immunisation, mortality and surgery rates between hospitals. I am especially worried by some of the figures relating to Louth and Our Lady of Lourdes.

The Minister and the Health Service Executive have a responsibility to ensure patient safety.”

Teachta Adams said:

“The second annual report of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System (NHQRS) is intended to measure health service performance and outcomes of care within the health service. It is also intended to identify problems, facilitate improvements and help health providers take decisions to improve the system.

Some of its conclusions are encouraging, for example the fact that survival rates for patients with breast and colorectal cancer within the health service are improving.

However, the report also reveals that Louth is among the worst counties in the state for immunisation rates for the Mumps, Rubella and Rubella diseases. The target for immunisation across the state is 95%. The current rate stands at 93% but Louth lags behind on between 89-90%.

Meningococcal bacteria can result in meningitis, septicaemia or both. It can lead to death or serious disability. According to the NHQRS report the state target is 95% of children immunised. The uptake rates for children at 24 months across the state for 2014-15 is 88%. But Louth lags behind here also with between 80-81% of children immunized at 24 months.

  • In-hospital mortality at Our Lady of Lourdes in some treatments is also a cause of concern. According to the NHQRS a heart attack is one of the leading causes of death. The trend has seen an overall reduction within 30 days of admission from a high of 9.3 deaths per 100 in 2006 to 6.0 deaths per 100 cases in 2015. In OLOL the rate is slightly higher at 6.22 deaths per 100 cases.
  • In-hospital mortality from a haemorrhagic stroke within 30 days of admission is also a cause of worry. Speedy diagnosis and treatment can improve survival and limit the risk of disability. In 2013 the average in-hospital mortality rate within 30 days of admission with haemorrhagic stroke was 24.6 per 100 cases. This is higher than the OECD (Organisation for Economic and Co-operation Development) average of 22.6 deaths per 100 cases.

In Our Lady of Lourdes the in-hospital mortality rate is higher again at 26.64 per 100 cases.

  • In 2013 the in-hospital mortality rate within 30 days of admission at Our Lady of Lourdes for patients admitted to the hospital with an ischaemic stroke was, at 9.21 deaths per 100 cases, higher than the OECD average of 8.4 deaths per 100 cases.

Finally, the in-hospital waiting time for patients waiting for hip fracture surgery was also analysed by the NHQRS. It found that the average proportion of patients undergoing surgery within 2 days of admission was 82.3% across the state. For Our Lady of Lourdes the figure was less at 76.6% of patients.

And when it came to caesarean sections Our Lady of Lourdes with 33.3% per 100 patients had the fourth highest rate of caesarean sections in the state.

The NHQRS report is a detailed comprehensive report which contains a significant body of information that requires careful examination and analysis.

The public needs to have confidence in our public health service, in the care they receive and in our acute hospitals.

This report raises questions about whether patient safety and quality of care are compromised in some locations, or across some specialties.

It is the responsibility of the Minister for Health and the HSE, as well as the hospital and hospital group, to address these matters.

I have written to the Minister asking him what actions he intends to take following the findings of the Report.”

 

Fianna Fáil should join the effort to scrap punitive bin charge hikes – Adams

Gerry Adams SmilingLouth TD Gerry Adams has called on Fianna Fáil “to join the effort to scrap punitive bin charge hikes’.

Teachta Adams said;

“Many people are only now adjusting to the reality that Fine Gael are back in Government; despite the result of the general election. The bin charges debacle has been a sharp reality check. People just cannot afford the punitive hikes in charges. The Government’s plans should be scrapped. Will Fianna Fáil support this?

“The strength of public opinion may force them to do so, but on other issues they have sided with Enda Kenny. Last week for example, they supported the refusal of the Government to accept legislation that would have provided rent certainty for struggling households.

“The Taoiseach is also resisting Sinn Féin’s call for a Commission of Investigation into the sale of NAMAs Northern loan book. Micheál Martin has correctly described the Government’s position as untenable, yet so far he has failed to act or to support the establishment of a Commission.

“So too with the Fine Gael decision to appeal the High Court judgement on the National Monument at the unique, iconic 1916 site at Moore Street. The Taoiseach is siding with the developer and despite their protestations to the contrary, he is being aided and abetted in this endeavour by his partners in the Fianna Fáil leadership.

“The people put Fine Gael and Labour out of office. The people wanted Enda Kenny out of office.

“Yet Fianna Fáil put Fine Gael back into Government. Fianna Fáil returned Enda Kenny as Taoiseach.

“They promise ‘new politics’. But their new politics looks very much like politics of old.

“Fianna Fáil play the part of opposition whilst propping up the the Government. For his part, the Taoiseach knows that Fine Gael will remain in office as long as he honours his contractual obligations with Fianna Fáil. The Dáil, and for that matter his own backbenchers, will have little say in this.

“Little wonder some unscrupulous waste disposal companies are exploiting inappropriate regulations in their own self-interest. Sinn Féin and others are committed to stopping them. Fianna Fáil should put the people first and join us in that effort.”