On Good Friday, at 16 locations in Ireland, we held vigils outside hospitals, in what was the start of a campaign that aims to tackle the inadequacies in the Irish health system. Under the banner of the Still Waiting campaign communities organised to demand better health care.
Health Care worker, Cyril Brennan who initiated the campaign said, ‘overcrowding, waiting lists and staff shortages needs to be tackled. We are in the middle of a national crisis. Each year 350 people die waiting for the care they need on lists that are spiraling out of control. There are now over 650,000 people on waiting lists, many of whom have been there for years, with worsening conditions.
The government chooses to stick it’s head in the sand while people are forced to accept a sub-standard health service that puts adults and children’s lives in danger. No doubt they are able to afford the very best of private healthcare, with the hefty wages they receive from tax payers. These cuts will never affect them.’
Local organiser in Roscommon, Eddie Conroy said, ‘in the last 30 years, thousands of beds have been stripped from the public healthcare system, while state funds are given to private hospitals. The incapacity of the health service isn’t just a result of incompetence from the government, it is the hidden agenda of privatisation at play again. The people suffer while the profit margins of the few, gets ever larger.
Between October and December in 2016 the number of children with disabilities waiting longer than the recommended 3 month guideline increased by 23%. Mental health services are also seriously lacking with young patients often being left in unsuitable adult psychiatric wards to access treatment.’
‘We need to push back against this two-tier health system. From the Water Charges to Apollo House people power is changing the shape of this country for the better. Still Waiting will work with other affected groups to build a national movement that challenges these policies and forces the government into action.’