Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South Central, Micheál Martin TD, has expressed his anger at reports that the South Infirmary Hospital will close for a week in October and possibly a further three weeks in December.
Deputy Martin said this development is a direct result of the “abject failure” of the Minister for Health to address the deficit in the health budget and the acute hospitals in Cork.
“Staff at the South Infirmary have been requested to take a week’s unpaid leave during October. There is also a possibility of staff being asked to take a further three weeks in December. This essentially means one of our key acute hospitals in Cork will be closed for a full week.
“We have been aware since March that hospitals in Cork have had large deficits, I warned that hospitals wouldn’t be able to pay wages by October, this was raised in the Dáil on a number of occasions but I was shouted down by the Government benches every time.
“There has been a complete lack of transparency here and the Minister is in denial. In July at a meeting with the HSE I asked would there be implications in Cork of the deficits and I was told this was not the case at the time.
“There is now a full blown crisis in the health service, hospitals cannot pay their bills. This is not good enough, the Minister needs to spell out what we have on our hands, instead of this drip drip effect. Lives could be put at risk and no one seems to have any idea of the full extent of the crisis
“Staff are struggling to cope and they are terrified they won’t be able to pay their mortgages, they need answers and the Minister needs to clarify what he plans to do to address the problems at the South Infirmary and other acute hospitals throughout the country.”