Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has today expressed fury at reports from women in the Louth area who have been told that the free smear tests promised by Simon Harris in the wake of the Cervical Check scandal will cost up to €85 if women elect to have their smear tests analysed in this state, rather than outsourced to American labs.
Deputy Munster said:
“I received calls today from women in my constituency who were outraged to learn from their GPs this week that they would have to pay €85 for a repeat smear test, despite claims made by Ministers Simon Harris and Regina Doherty that free smear tests would be available for all women who had concerns about the Cervical Check scandal and wished to take an additional test.”
“In cases where women choose for their lab work to be carried out in this state, they have been asked to pay €50 for a GP visit and €35 for the smear test.”
“For reasons that must be obvious even to the government since Vicky Phelan went public with her story, many women in Ireland have lost confidence in the outsourcing of lab tests to the United States, and would prefer that their tests be carried out at home.”
“It is disingenuous of Simon Harris to announce that these repeat tests are free, when in fact they are not”.
“It is clear that despite all the hurt, damage, and deaths that this scandal has caused, that the government has learned absolutely nothing.”
“After all that’s happened the government should arrange to have free smear tests carried out and tested in Ireland. It’s the least they could do.”
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has called for an “urgent review of government policy and funding for the Health Service to end the scandal of patients stuck on trolleys in Emergency Departments.”
The Louth TD said:
“Waiting lists in Our Lady of Lourdes Emergency Department have remained consistently high. On Monday August 10th there were 35 patients on trolleys in OLOL – the worst in the state. The following day (today) Tuesday August 11th that number was 36.
“The summer period normally sees a drop in the volume of overcrowding in Emergency Departments but the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has reported that July saw the ‘highest ever level of overcrowding recorded.’ July 2015 witnessed a 94% increase in trolley numbers in ED’s since 2006.
“Our Lady of Lourdes – with 769 patients on trolleys In July – had the highest levels of overcrowding of any hospital in the state.
“This is deeply disturbing and is evidence of the abject failure of government policy in respect of the health service and the care of patients. New measures introduced by the Minister for Health are inadequate and the €74 million additional funding provided several months ago has failed to achieve any significant improvement in Emergency Department trolley numbers.
“The negative impact of this on patient care and patient well-being requires urgent additional funding by the government.
Urgent action is needed. It should include:
- Immediate steps to recruit the required additional staff.
- Additional resources to expand the role of the nurse in the acute care and in enhanced community services.
- More acute beds and step down facilities must be established.”
Sinn Féin County Council Group Leader in Louth Tomás Sharkey has made the
following statement on the news that the County Manager in Louth, Ms Philomena
Poole is to resign her post.
Ms Poole is being appointed as County manager in Dún Laoghaire & Rathdown.
“We in Sinn Féin wish Ms Poole all the best in her new role. On a number of occasions we saw Ms Poole offering honest, factual data to Councillors.
“She was up front with us on the issue of Housing Adaptation grants, funding for Women’s Aid, the Auditors Report into Louth’s 2012 accounts and the financial implications of cash reserves being spent on land during the boom.
“Ms Poole’s first meeting was in September. Then she announced an audit into the purchase of houses from council management staff. That was a bold move by Ms Poole. We are not convinced that previous management would have shown such commitment to getting to the truth.
“That audit has become a whole scale enquiry. Our concerns remain and we
now have concerns about the credibility of the enquiry. We have not received the
findings of this enquiry yet.
“Sinn Féin feel that Ms Poole has a job to finish here in Louth. We need to discover all the details around house purchases and also why land was bought in Louth village and Kilkerley using cash reserves at astronomical prices, with not one house ever being built.
“We do wish her well and expect to meet her in the future when investigations come to