SIPTU representatives have today (Friday, 11th May) repeated their call to halt the privatisation of critical health services and demanded that the Government starts a process of bringing all health screening services home to Ireland. SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “Firstly, our members, like the rest of the public, are rightly outraged by the CervicalCheck scandal. Our hearts and solidarity go out to Vicky Phelan, Emma Mhic Mhatúna and the other women and their families touched by this tragedy. The resignation of one man won’t cure all the ills facing the health service but it does give us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the danger of outsourcing essential health services.” “The tragic circumstances facing these women and their families is the net result of a drive to commodify our health service. We have an intolerable situation where shareholders and profits have been prioritised over patients and lives. Patients and citizens are being treated as customers and clients. It is time for the people who made these decisions to come clean and start the process of bringing all health screening services home to Ireland. The public monies being used to offshore these services should be put to better use and ringfenced into the Capital Investment Plan. That would allow for the necessary funds to be made available to purchase the facilities and equipment needed to provide these services at home.” He added: “SIPTU representatives have always opposed outsourcing, not just because it is in breach of public service agreements and removes decent directly employed workers from the health service but also because of the concerns our members have surrounding the governance and oversight offered to patients. The CervicalCheck scandal is proof of that and only serves to reinforce the need to move to a publicly controlled and universally accessible single-tier national health service.” “Instead, health employers claim they have no choice but to outsource essential health services. Our members in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital are preparing for strike action in protest at management proposals to outsource the Central Sterile Services Department (CSSD). It is proven the world over, that once a service is outsourced that there is little control over it and even less accountability, until it’s too late that is. Patients deserve better.”