Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Billy Kelleher TD, has expressed his deep concern at the failure of CUH to adequately staff the new Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) at the hospital despite committing to do so this year.
The state of the art EMU, which cost €500,000 was fitted at CUH last year but a promise to have the unit up and running in 2013 has been broken.
“I find it incredible that the specialised epilepsy unit at CUH is not operational despite promises to do so by quarter 3 of 2013. The CUH say the recruitment embargo has effectively prevented them from hiring the required nurses and technicians to operate the unit.
“There are 100 people with extremely complex forms of epilepsy anxiously awaiting the unit to open so their conditions can be treated by experts. These people should not be forced to suffer unnecessarily.
“I am calling on Minister Kathleen Lynch to raise this extremely important case with Minster James Reilly so emergency funding can be allocated to provide the necessary staff for the unit. An exceptional case must be made here and there is an obligation on the HSE, the CUH and the Minister to follow through on their promise. I also plan to raise this with Minister Reilly this week in the Dáil.
“There are 130 epilepsy related deaths in Ireland every year, without a fully functional EMU in Cork, people suffering with the disease will continue to experience life threatening seizures. This is unacceptable and Minister Lynch and Reilly must move quickly to rectify the situation.
“This is yet another example of the huge strain the health service is under due to Minister Reilly’s mismanagement. Frontline staff are under severe pressure and as we anxiously await the HSE service plan for 2014, we need a firm commitment that vital services like the EMU will be adequately funded next year.”