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5,000 signatures to stop health cuts given to HSE

category limerick | miscellaneous | press release author Friday July 18, 2008 18:21author by Cian Prendiville - SP & CRPHSauthor phone 086-8064801 Report this post to the editors

Public Forum: 7:45, Tuesday, July 29th, Pery's Hotel, Glentworth St.

On Thursday July 29th the HSE were presented with 5,000 signatures on petitions demanding the maintaining of A&E services in Ennis, Nenagh and St.John’s Hospitals. The Socialist Party, who collected the petitions, claim that this is only the beginning and that an active campaign must be built. Socialist Party spokesperson, Cian Prendiville said: “The HSE are unlikely to give up on their agenda of centralisation and cutbacks without a fight. Petitions can be a first step, but what is needed is for people to come along to the upcoming health forum on July 29th and use it as a launching pad for a local action group.”
Forum poster
Forum poster

When handing in the petitions to a representative of the HSE in their Catherine street office in Limerick, Mr. Prendiville asked about the Teamwork MS report, which contains the plans for closing the casualty departments mentioned. “Why is it that the report, which was first leaked on July 17th 2007, and was meant to be published by August ’07 has still not been made public one year on? Brendan Drumm in on record as promising its publication by December. Why the delay?”

The HSE representative was unable to explain the cause of the postponement, but stated that there was still work being done on the report. When asked when it would be made public, she said that was not known, but they had a target date of this August.

“The HSE are now on record, saying to my face, in front of the media, that the report is meant to be out in August. They must stick with that plan. The government must come out and clearly state that the services at Ennis, Nenagh and St.John’s will remain intact. Nothing else will do. We must get organised to force them to back down from their plans.” Mr. Prendiville said.

Together Ennis, Nenagh and St.John’s Accident and Emergency departments treat 55,000 patients a year – the same number as the Regional Hospital in Dooradoyle. This has led to fears that centralisation of A&E facilities would result in severe problems at the Regional, as well as problems for those living further away from Dooradoyle. Mr. Prendiville said that he felt that these plans are “insane” and go against all “medial and common sense. Proximity and speed is essential for successful emergency treatment.”

Similar plans to these were laid out in 2003 in the Hanly report. That report saw huge unrest and anger, particularly in Ennis and Nenagh, and led to the rapid growth of the Ennis and the Nenagh Hospital Action Groups, and the plans were scrapped. However, no such group emerged in Limerick. According to Mr. Prendiville, this time must be different. “The government is far more serious than they were in 2003. They are cutting health spending across the board, making working people pay for the recession. They have already closed a quarter of the beds at St.John’s, and announced 112 more hospital job cuts in Limerick. If we are to defeat these cuts we must have a strong campaign in all the town and cities. That’s why we are supporting the upcoming public health forum, organised by the Campaign for a Real Public Health Service [CRPHS], at 7:45 on July 29th in Pery’s Hotel on Glentworth Street Limerick.”

The forum, entitled “Stop the Cuts: -Save St.John’s A&E, -Stop Co-location at the Regional” will be addressed by local Consultant, Dr. Gerry Burke, chairperson of the Ennis Hospital Action Group, Ciaran O’Dea and Socialist Party rep, and convenor of the CRPHS, Michael Murphy. The Nenagh Hospital Development Committee has also been invited. Michael Murphy said that the forum “is open to all those who want to hear about the health crisis and cuts in the Mid-West, and those interested in building a campaign to stop them.”

He went on to describe the CRPHS. “The Campaign originated out of a mass meeting in Dublin in January, addressed by Prof. John Crown, Dr. Orla Hardiman (Doctors for a better public health service) and Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party. From that meeting a National Conference of different local campaigns etc was organised in April. This forum in Limerick is the next step towards building a national health campaign which is on the ground in every town and city.”

author by Cianpublication date Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:49author address author phone 086-8064801Report this post to the editors

Photos from last Thursday.

All photo's are copyright of Neal McNamara. But he is generally very friendly to people using them so simply contact me on 086-8064801 if you want to use them for something, and I can ask him for you.

Collecting the petitions on O'Connel Street
Collecting the petitions on O'Connel Street

Handing them in to the HSE office
Handing them in to the HSE office

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