27 March 2008 Edition
McDonald calls on public to support health rally in Dublin
“This Saturday thousands of doctors, nurses, hospital campaigners, political activists and members of the general public will gather in Dublin to demand what should be theirs as of right – decent public health services.
“Local hospital services throughout Ireland are being downgraded and stripped of essential services for the promise of centres of excellence that have yet to be built.
“Public patients needing tests for suspected cancer continue to face an 18-month wait despite government promises of improvements in cancer care services.
“HSE staffing in hospitals continues to fall far short of what is required to carry out standard primary care services yet the recruitment ban continues.
“Hospitals are overcrowded and understaffed leading to huge waiting times in Accident and Emergency wards in particular and hundreds of public patients lie on hospital trolleys every day while those who can afford to go private don’t have to wait for a bed.
“While all of this continues the Government plans to gift tax breaks and land at public hospital sites to the developers of private for profit hospitals thus entrenching the unequal two-tier health service in this state.
“This government has failed in its commitment to deliver quality health care to all. It is time the Taoiseach and Minister Harney accepted responsibility for the crumbling state of this country’s health service. Both should resign so that an equitable universal health service based on need alone can finally be built and delivered.
“I urge everybody to support this Saturday’s march and rally for a decent public health system.”