On Good Friday over 16 locations in Ireland had 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 spiralling out of control. There is now over 650,000 people on lists, many of which have been there for years with worsening conditions. The government chooses to stick its 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 private healthcare with the hefty wages they receive from tax payers so that these cuts never affect them.’
Local organiser Una Dunphy 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 fat. 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.’
Still Waiting Waterford were joined by members of S.E.P.A.G, Enough is Enough and Candles in the Dark campaigners.