People with cystic fibrosis are fighting a war against political negligence. After years of empty and broken promises, the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland has had enough. It’s mounting a campaign, Irish War Crimes, to reverse the decision to delay the building of a new cystic fibrosis unit in Dublin. A campaign truck will travel the State over the next week and politicians will be canvassed locally and nationally to increase pressure on the Government to find funding for the unit.
At any given time there are up to 30 CF patients in St Vincent’s hospital queueing for the eight single en suite rooms. Many CF patients are refusing to go into hospital to have lung infections treated because of the risk of cross infection. The new facility, which would have had about 30 single rooms for CF patients, had been promised for 2010 but last week it emerged that funding would not be available until 2011 at the earliest.
Seán O’Kennedy, Cystic Fibrosis Association chairman, said he made no apologies for the hard-hitting campaign. “People living with CF are fighting an ongoing war against CF but unfortunately they are also fighting a war against an Irish medical system that is totally insufficient for their needs.”
Seán added “The support from everyone, politicians on all sides of the Government, medical professionals, the general public and the media has been astounding and all are on board to wage a war against this injustice and human rights issue”.
People with CF deserve a chance at life. They deserve proper healthcare. They deserve to be free from the fear of cross-infection, the fear of watching their friends die. These are basic human rights. The ultimate price of inefficiency, bureaucracy, politics, mismanagement and apathy is human lives. Twenty- five people with CF died in Ireland last year. As Orla Tinsley, leading campaigner asks, “Are human lives the new currency?”.
The HSE recently published a HealthStat programme which aims to provide a snapshot of health services by measuring performance. In terms of CF care in Ireland, it deserves a great big fat red rating!
Red = Unsatisfactory, requiring urgent attention.