April 19, 2024
Lack of beds and underfunding of cancer strategy has real consequences for children and families – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has again called on the Government to properly fund the National Cancer Strategy.

The Waterford TD said that the harrowing stories told by parents of children with cancer on Morning Ireland today must be a wake-up call for Government.

He also called on the Government to end the recruitment embargo, train and retain more healthcare professionals, invest in 3,000 hospital and community beds, and invest in local GP and health services. 

Teachta Cullinane said:

“We heard harrowing stories this morning from parents of children with cancer of cancellations of appointments due to a lack of capacity at Crumlin Hospital. These included appointments being cancelled on the day while families were on the road to Dublin with no prior warning.

“The clinicians working in these services do phenomenal work, but they are working with one hand tied behind their back by the Government’s refusal to properly fund the National Cancer Strategy and develop sufficient hospital capacity.

“We heard the reality facing families this morning over the spin put out this week by Children’s Health Ireland. CHI cannot deny that their capacity deficits – which are the fault of Government – are impacting on these families, and that cancellations are happening for capacity reasons.

“The impact on children and families of cancellations due to bed and staff shortages in the hospital cannot be overstated or dismissed. It can have real consequences and makes an already very difficult situation worse.

“Parents and their children should not be put in a position where they are on the way to their child’s appointment, which can be many hours from their home, only to be told on the day that it has been cancelled because the hospital is overcrowded.

“It is unacceptable that CHI is challenging their own data and the lived experience of these families. What we need is not distractions or excuses but an acknowledgement of shortcomings and clear, resourced plans for tackling overcrowding and curbing cancellations.

“We need the recruitment embargo to be lifted and to train and retain more healthcare professionals. We need a proper workforce plan from the Minister for Health.

“We also need Government to resource the 3,000 hospital and community beds as well as local GP and health services which are needed to make hospitals safe, tackle overcrowding, and deliver appropriate care closer to home.

“This must be a wake-up call for Government to properly fund the National Cancer Strategy to better support children and adults with cancer, and ensure hospitals are adequately resourced and staffed to avoid cancellations of vital cancer treatments.

“Our children deserve better than spin and bluster – they deserve real action.”

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