Tomorrow morning (Saturday August 14), a demonstration against proposed HSE (Health Service Executive) cutbacks at Roscommon County Hospital is to take place. The protest march, organised by the Roscommon Health Action Committee (HAC) is to commence at the Hyde Centre in Roscommon town at 11am tomorrow morning and will proceed from there to the hospital itself, where a ‘Hands Around Our Hospital Protest’ will take place.
Like other hospitals throughout the region, Roscommon's has already suffered severe cutbacks and is bracing itself for more in the imminent future, including the possible closure of the hospital completely.
|Roscommon County Hospital|
A report commissioned earlier this year by the HSE West recommended the closure of the hospital. Ironically, it transpires that the cost of having that report commissioned cost the HSE a massive €90,000, money which IMPACT Trade Union say could have kept 12 nurses or clerical staff employed from now until the end of the year.
Urging people throughout the West and Midlands to support Saturday's march, éirígí activist Gerry Casey said that there must be no compromise or backing down by the Unions in relation to the proposed cutbacks in the HSE West region.
Casey said: "What is at stake here is of vital importance for future generations. The planned cutbacks are not about reducing services or even closing hospitals due to necessity. It is part of a planned strategy by the HSE, on behalf of the Fianna Fáil /Green party coalition to run down the public health service in order to pave the way for the privatisation of our hospitals and our health care system."
He added: "The current health system we have is a medical form of apartheid where the wealthy get treated whenever they want, while those reliant on the public health service have to join ever lenghtening queues to receive essential treatment. Such a system ensures that people suffer needlessly and die needlessly."
"The release this week by the Irish Cancer Society (ICS) of figures showing the continued increase in the numbers waiting more than three months for a potentially life saving colonoscopy, is yet more evidence of the danger to life posed by the HSE and this administrations health policies. People should be under no illusion. Lives have been lost as a result of cutbacks and even more will be lost if they get to impose new cutbacks"
Casey continued: "Mary Harney and her cronies in government peddle the lie that they have not the finance to properly fund our health service and that cutbacks are unavoidable. But the bottom line is, as éirígí have repeatedly pointed out, that none of these cutbacks are in any way necessary. Imposition of a wealth tax, the nationalisation of our natural resources and the proper distribution of the current finances at the governments disposal, would allow not just for a halt to any cutbacks, but also for a reversal of those already imposed and more importantly for proper new investment to be made to create an efficient public service available to all, based solely on medical need and not based on ability to pay."
"Fianna Fáil and the Green Party have pumped tens of billions of euros into bailing out the banks and developers. This is money that could have been used to fund our hospitals and invest in their future. Given the choice of protecting the health and welfare of patients who rely on the public health care system or protecting the excessive living standards of the wealthy political and business elite, the coalition chose the latter."
"This is a fight that we cannot afford to lose. There can be and must be no compromise or 'deals' on these cutbacks particularly from the leadership of the Trade Unions within the health service. Reducing the cutbacks is not a solution - only the scrapping and reversal of cutbacks is acceptable. Previous 'deals' have led us to this point. As the INMO (Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation) General secretary pointed out recently: 'The INMO voted against the Croke Park proposals primarily on the basis that they require 6,000 posts to be taken out of our health service in a haphazard, uncontrolled and unplanned manner with scant regard for the impact upon patients and their needs and requirements. We are now seeing the real impact of this flawed approach.'"
Casey concluded: "Support tomorrows (Saturday August 14) march and rally in Roscommon town and all similar protests against the proposed cutbacks. Send the message to Leinster House - Fund our Hospitals, Not the Banks."