Tuesday, 22nd May 2018
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People-power can fix the Health Service

Dear Editor

The number of people waiting for medical treatment in Ireland is 700,000 and the Health Service is falling apart, but Una Dunphy believes that it can be put right if people join the Still Waiting campaign and demand action to deal with the scandalous neglect of the nation's health. She has urged everyone to support the Still Waiting Ireland Health Conference in Liberty Hall, Dublin on 27 January.

The horror of sick and injured people being put on trolleys in hospital corridors and left without treatment is unnecessary and oppressive. The scandalous bed shortage is a manufactured crisis, and arises from a Government policy of disinvestment in the public service and a strategy of privatisation by stealth.

It is possible, and essential, to plan for the provision of adequate hospital and other medical treatment throughout the country. Seasonal variations in need are predictable, and the solution is simple. Ireland has to have:

- Significant investment in order to raise the number of acute hospital beds to the European average.

- An increase in the numbers of nurses and frontline staff to pre-crisis levels.

- The return of closed services such as A&E departments

- Provision of access to 24/7 cardiac care in the South East and throughout the country.

- Creation of a National Health Care system, free at the point of use and paid for through progressive taxation.

- Provision of a public not-for-profit Home Help Service.

These issues will be discussed at the Conference on 27 January, which is fully supported by PBP and trade unions such as SIPTU, the INMO, the new public service Union FÓRSA (IMPACT/CPSU/CSEU), along with the ICTU.

Among the speakers will be Catherine Power, sister of the late Tom who had a heart attack on a weekend and died in an ambulance, when he was travelling from Waterford to Cork for treatment.

Una Dunphy, the Waterford coordinator of Still Waiting said "Individual campaigns around the country have not been able to prevent the nationwide crisis we are now suffering. We are getting the message out that we're stronger together, and that when people work as a team they can make real change, and can ensure that Ireland gets the health service that we deserve”.

Yours,

Una Dunphy

People Before Profit

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