Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív has hit out at the Health Minister for a lack of specific healthcare provision for the islands. In reply to a Parliamentary Question, Minister Varadkar confirmed that no specific policies for the management of GP and nursing services for the islands exists, despite issues with access.
Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “It is completely unacceptable that there is no specific plan for health provision on our islands. Over the past few months full time nursing care has been removed from Inishturk and Inisheer, but no replacement scheme has been put in place. This has left serious gaps in the system and could be putting lives at risk. Despite this, the Government has revealed that it has no policy for island health services, and is leaving the issue in the hands of the HSE.
“This Government has consistently failed to protect any of the services on our islands. There is no Cabinet Minister with responsibility for the islands and as a result core funding for resources has been cut. When questioned about health service provision for the islands, Minister Leo Varadkar confirmed that the “islands did not form a specific and separate part of the HSE’s 2015 National Service Plan. This is completely unacceptable and is a reflection of the Government’s and the HSE’s complete disregard for people living on the islands.
“Instead of respecting and promoting island life, this Government has set about dismantling services across rural Ireland and the islands. I will continue to work with island communities and Comhdhail Oileáin na hÉireann to get a commitment from the HSE and the Minister that these essential health services will be restored”.