The only HSE success story and Harney determined to close it by the end of this Dail session
Campaigners for St Luke's Cancer Hospital in Rathgar thought that the decision not to make it the southside Centre of Excellence in 2005 which meant closure and a move to St James Hospital had been indefinitely suspended due to the local and national opposition.
But no, Minister Harney who always knows best ,has a Bill before the Dail at the moment with the innocent title Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010 which will dissolve the board of St Luke's and transfer the valuable 18 acre site and the other assets to the dysfunctional HSE who might well sell the land at a bargain price to balance their books.
Anyone who cares about this great hospital needs to get onto TDs immediately especially John Gormley and Chris Andrews.
With the world cup, and thoughts of summer holidays, the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010 currently going through the Dail isn’t attracting much attention.
But people should pay attention, according to cancer survivor Joe Guilfoyle, because the Bill will close St Luke's Cancer Hospital, Rathgar and move services to the 'centre of excellence' at St James' Hospital. And the valuable 18 acre site on which St Luke’s stands and all other assets and equipment will be transferred to the dysfunctional HSE.
“St Luke’s is one of the few success stories of our public health system. It’s a hospital that patients like me are happy to travel to. It’s unacceptable that the Minister is attempting to close St Luke’s at the end of a Dail session with this innocent sounding bill”.
Guilfoyle says the decision to close St Luke’s was flawed.
“There was no patient input, and since then, the projected numbers of new cancer cases by 2020 has risen by 50% from 28,000 to 42,000. A panel of six ‘experts’ advised the Minister on which hospitals should be the ‘cancer centres of excellence.
“If you chose the right experts you get the recommendation you want. I know from information received under FOI that these ‘experts’ gave St Luke’s poor marks under the category ‘existing service.’ As a St Luke’s patient this is inexplicable.”
The Campaign to Save St Luke’s, of which Guilfoyle is Chair, had assumed the Minister’s decision to close St Luke’s in 2005 had been put on the long finger, and in effect dropped, following opposition both locally and nationally.
Since the decision to close St Luke’s, millions have been spent on the latest equipment and improving facilities at St Luke's - paid for by the taxpayer and fundraising by the Friends of St Lukes.
“It makes no sense to close it on financial grounds alone,” says Joe. “Our Campaign is calling for people to lobby their TDs immediately to save this national asset.”
St Luke’s is in Minister John Gormley’s Dublin South East constituency. Residents are already angry about his apparent inability to prevent a large incinerator in Ringsend. He faces an awkward choice between supporting his cabinet colleague Ms Harney and the certain loss of his seat at the next election.
The Bill had its second stage debate in the Dail on June 3rd and Minister Harney intends to have it on the statute book by the end of the current Dail session, which provisionally ends on July 8th.
Joe Guilfoyle 087 7937201
Enid O’Dowd 087 2319056