The buck lies firmly with Health Minister

FOR nine years public health doctors have been looking for a structured out-of-hours service to protect the health of the Irish people.

It is irresponsible for the Minister for Health to continue to pretend the current system is safe.

The strike date was set last year before the world had heard of SARS but the uncoordinated response to the threat of SARS has confirmed existing deficiencies.

It is extraordinary that a non-militant group of professionals has to use strike action to promote necessary improvements in health care in Ireland.

We are tired of doctors, nurses and other frontline workers being blamed when it is deficiencies in planning and implementation which result in continuing crises.

The The minister can and should negotiate to resolve the dispute but has chosen not to do so.

We have called on hospital consultants to take action in support of our public health colleagues.

We will ensure such action does not undermine immediate patient care and refute the recent reports that we intend to cancel elective hospital admissions.

We share with our public health doctor colleagues their frustration and disillusionment with the management of the health service in Ireland.

Dr Christine O’Malley, (Chairman), Dr Kate Ganter, Mr Sean Tierney, Dr Michael Thornton, Consultant Committee,

Irish Medical Organisation,

10 Fitzwilliam Place,

Dublin 2.

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